What a confusing spring season it’s been! One day 80s, the next 40s and rain….hard to figure out what to wear (come on, I’m sure I’m not alone on this one!), and even harder to figure out what to eat!! There are many health benefits to eating “in season” but what to do when the weather doesn’t match the season? Arugula Pesto Recipe is a good one to have in your back pocket!
It would be nice to take advantage of all those fresh greens in the markets. Often, salad on a cool day isn’t what I’m in the mood for. I came home recently with fresh arugula and fresh spinach from a local farmers market. Fresh local greens hadn’t been seen for months, and let’s just say I may have over purchased. I make green smoothies regularly and eat raw salads every day, but still……I was going to have to get creative to use all of these greens while they were still fresh.
What’s in Pesto?
Most people think of the traditional basil, pecorino, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil when they think of pesto. Making a paste from herbs, nuts, cheese and oil has been around since ancient times and its origins can be traced to other cultures besides Italian. I’m no stranger to making pesto, but I do like to change it up a bit—read: make it more healthy—and who doesn’t like a dip/spread/sauce that’s loaded with nutrients? During the summer when I’m able to grow fresh basil I often make large batches of kale and cashew pesto. I always freeze some to have on hand during the winter months. but we’re talking early spring here and the only basil I have is the small plant growing on my kitchen windowsill.
So, here I was with an abundance of arugula and spinach and I thought, why not pesto? Arugula Pesto Recipe would be just the thing. Wild arugula has such a nice peppery taste. Combining two types of nuts is the perfect blend of taste plus protein and Omega 3s. Nutrient dense and up my creative alley! YAY.
Is arugula pesto healthy?
Arugula is loaded with folic acid, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, phyto-chemicals, carotenoids, potassium, manganese, iron, calcium and antioxidants. For those looking to lose weight, arugula is an awesome choice because it is low in calories and therefore nutrient dense. Although arugula shares many of the same health benefits you would find in green leafy veggies, arugula belongs to the Brassica family (related to radishes, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower), giving it an additional boost. Here’s a list of some of the benefits of consuming arugula: boosts immune system, aids in weight management, helps improve eye sight, strengthens bones and teeth, gives relief from symptoms of osteoporosis, promotes energy production and fat synthesis, reduces the risk of heart disease and premature aging. Need I say more??
I am so pleased with the way this pesto recipe came out. It tastes light and fresh—the way spring feels—-and yet its sturdy enough to hold up when heated as a sauce and makes an awesome spread on toast or crackers. Multi-purpose for sure and a great way to get in those healthy spring greens!
Greens plus more veggies is the way to go!
I quickly put this pesto to good use, heating up some spiralized zucchini noodles, mixing in the pesto and topping it off with some extra pine nuts, and crushed red pepper. WOW! What a delicious way to get in those veggies.
- 2 cups tightly packed arugula
- 1 cup tightly packed spinach
- 1/3 cup raw walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Toast Walnuts: place in a dry skillet and cook over medium/high heat for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan often to prevent burning.
- Place greens, toasted walnuts, garlic and lemon juice in bowl of food processor and process until everything is chopped fine.
- Add in olive oil, salt and pepper and process until smooth. add the pine nuts and pulse until nuts are crumbly.
- Store in the fridge in a glass container with tight fitting lid or up to one week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- If you'd like to make zucchini pesto pasta, use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to turn zucchini into zoodles. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat and toss zucchini while cooking for about 3 minutes until just starting to tenderize. Add several tablespoons of pesto and continue to toss and cook until well incorporated and noodles have softened. If pan gets too dry, or sauce is too thick, add in up to 1/4 cup of veggie stock or water 1 Tablespoon at a time.
Freeze in ice cube trays and store in air tight container so you can defrost in small batches as needed.
**To make zucchini noodles, 4 large zucchini.
Serving Size1/4 Cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 219Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 0mgSodium 299mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 2gSugar 1gProtein 4g