Arugula Pistachio Pesto with Asiago Cheese

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner


ingredients for arugula pesto

Basil pesto is as symbolic of summer cooking as a juicy beefsteak tomato from the garden.

But what about making pesto with other flavors like arugula? The green’s sharp, peppery taste is delicious on pasta, pizzas and much more. And it allows you to enjoy pesto in the spring and fall, instead of only in the summer.


growing arugula


I’m a big fan of arugula in early spring, especially as I’m waiting for my other vegetables to ripen. Arugula comes in many different tasty varieties, ranging from ‘Apollo’ to ‘Wasabi.’ Want to grow arugula? Be sure to check out my growing tips.

This recipe is fast and easy to make for friends and family. As with other pesto recipes, this one only uses a few ingredients, but somehow the overall taste seems much more complex and wonderful.


arugula pesto in a bowl


Arugula Pesto Ingredients:

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

4 cups (packed) of baby arugula

3/4 cup finely grated Asiago cheese

1/3 cup unsalted, shelled pistachio nuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper



  1. Finely chop garlic in food processor. Add nuts and cheese. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Add arugula leaves, and blend to a paste. Add oil slowly as you chop.(If you are using a blender, it helps to finely chop most items by hand first.)
  3. Season the pesto with salt and pepper. If your pistachios are salted, omit the salt. Transfer to serving bowl. Enjoy!

Serving Tips:

This pesto is great on crostinis, pizzas, roasted potatoes and risottos.

Experiment! Replace pistachio nuts with walnuts. Switch Parmesan cheese for the Asiago. Add a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice.


arugula pesto pasta


Of course, this pesto is also delicious on pasta. In Italy a couple years ago, I learned a special tip: always reserve a cup or so of your pasta cooking water. Then add the water gradually to the cooked pasta to help spread the pesto better. Remember, this pesto always tastes best when the arugula comes straight from your garden. Enjoy!