Pistachio Arugula Pesto
Looking for a quick and easy pesto sauce? This recipe combines the buttery flavor of pistachios with peppery arugula for a bright, flavorful sauce.
Some commercial pesto sauces have a little too much "bite" to them for my taste. This recipe is milder (thanks to the arugula rather than basil), but the lemon juice and zest add a little "zing". Pistachios sub for traditional (and expensive!) pine nuts.
Pistachios can do so much more than flavor ice cream! A few fun facts about pistachios:
- Pistachio shells split naturally when ripe.
- In the Middle East, people call the pistachio the "smiling nut".
- In China, people call the pistachio the "happy nut".
- Pistachio shells can be recycled. Unsalted shells (rinse if salted) can be used as fire starter, mulch for shrubs that require acidic soil, placed around the base of plants to deter snails and slugs, and line the bottom of pots for houseplants for drainage.
There are so many uses for this flavorful pesto!
- Use as a topper for crostini with a slice of tomato and sprinkle of black pepper.
- Mix with whole-wheat pasta and top with shaved Parmesan cheese. Tip: reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water before draining the pasta. Use the pasta water to help the pesto adhere to the pasta. Add chicken or chickpeas for a protein, if desired.
- Dollop over cooked chicken or fish.
- Try a pesto-veggie pizza. Simply spread pesto on pizza crust and layer on veggies such as mushrooms and eggplant. Top with a little cheese and cook.
- Use as a sandwich spread or even on burgers!
- Mix with hard-boiled eggs for a flavor-packed egg salad or in place of mayonnaise for deviled eggs.
- Mix with non-fat Greek yogurt for a dip and dunk in veggies and crackers.
Pistachio Arugula Pesto
- 4 cups packed arugula (just push the arugula down the cup a little when measuring)
- ¼ cup salted pistachios (shelled)
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 tsp garlic, crushed
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Place the arugula and pistachios in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper and pulse a few times. Scrape down the sides of the food processor.
While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups pesto.