No basil? No problem. This arugula pesto is creamy and bright, with a peppery kick from the arugula. We love it on pasta, veggies, and more!
Now, pesto purists might argue that this arugula pesto isn’t really pesto at all. And that’s fair. Traditional basil pesto is made with pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, and it has a slightly chunky, paste-like texture. In this arugula pesto recipe, I sub arugula for the herbs and cashews for the pine nuts, and I totally nix the cheese. Instead, I blend in lemon juice for bright, fresh flavor.
Oh, and speaking of blending, I make this arugula pesto in the blender instead of pulsing it in the food processor or grinding it with a mortar and pestle. It comes out with a smooth, creamy texture, which I love on everything from pasta to sandwiches to roasted veggies.
So, traditional? Not really. Delicious? Yes! I hope you love this arugula pesto recipe as much as I do.
Arugula Pesto Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
- Arugula, of course! It gives the sauce a spicy, earthy flavor.
- Cashews – I use them in place of the traditional pine nuts to give the pesto a smooth and creamy texture.
- Extra-virgin olive oil – For richness.
- Fresh lemon juice – It makes the pesto nice and bright.
- Water – It helps the pesto blend into a smooth puree.
- Garlic – For sharp, savory bite.
- And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Place all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides of the blender as necessary. Then, continue blending until you have a creamy puree. That’s it!
Arugula Pesto Serving Suggestions
Like any homemade pesto, this arugula pesto is a versatile sauce to keep in your kitchen. Have fun experimenting with different ways to use it! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Toss it with pasta. Find my easy pesto pasta recipe here. Not feeling pasta? Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles would be great too!
- Dot it onto homemade pizza. Add the pesto after the pizza comes out of the oven so that it stays vibrant and fresh!
- Serve it with roasted veggies. Spoon it over roasted cauliflower, roasted broccoli, or butternut squash, or serve a swoosh under a seared cauliflower steak.
- Drizzle it over a grain bowl, like these kale pesto bowls or these roasted veggie bowls.
- Slather it on a sandwich or toast. I love it in my vegan variation of this Caprese sandwich.
How do you like to use arugula pesto? Let me know in the comments!
More Favorite Sauce Recipes
If you love this arugula pesto recipe, try one of these favorite sauces or dressings next:
- Alfredo Sauce
- Marinara Sauce
- Cashew Cream
- Green Goddess Dressing
- Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Avocado Dressing
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Tzatziki Sauce
- 2 cups arugula
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 small garlic clove
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a blender, combine the arugula, cashews, oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, salt, and several grinds of pepper and blend until creamy.
- See the blog post above for serving suggestions.