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A simple recipe for Arugula Pesto with Almonds, designed to enliven soups, stews, cassoulets, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. It’s vegan and made without pine nuts– adding a delicious peppery brightness to dishes you are already making!
This is one of the oldest recipes on the blog and I’m bringing it all the way to the front because of how useful I think you’ll find it. I first shared it on this Heirloom Tomato Sandwich almost 10 years ago but I feel it deserves a little emphasis. Plus, I pull it out all the time at home so I thought you might want to too. 😉
Arugula Almond Pesto is bright, peppery, and complex and brings dishes you are already making, to their happy place. It really elevates!
It loves to be paired with lasagna, beans, lentils, and casserole-y things, or lathered into sandwiches, tossed with pasta, sauteed veggies or roasted veggies, or spooned over your morning eggs.
Pesto without pine nuts
In our catering business, we found that many people had pinenut allergies, so we began making our pesto without pinenuts. Almonds were the perfect substitution!
So here we are using almonds instead of pinenuts (although pinenuts are fine too), arugula, a little basil, garlic, lemon zest and olive oil.
We intentionally leave the cheese out of this pesto to keep it vegan, but feel free to add.
How to make Arugula Pesto
This arugula pesto recipe only takes about 5 minutes! Just place everything in a food processor and pulse.
It makes one cup – a small manageable batch that can easily be repurposed during the week.
Make sure your olive oil is light and not overly bitter. The arugula adds its own bit of bitterness, but you’ll find it will mellow out after an hour or so, and when combined with food is quite pleasant.
how to freeze pesto
To freeze the arugula pesto, place it in a small jar, cover the pesto with a thin layer of lemon juice to preserve its vibrant color, and seal with an inch of headroom- it will expand as it freezes.
Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
The Arugula Pesto will last 4-5 days in the fridge.
Hope you enjoy this simple recipe for Arugula Pesto! Let us know how you use it!
Use Arugula Pesto on:
- Heirloom Tomato Basil Sandwich
- Simple Tomato Soup
- Tomato Zucchini Gratin
- Lentils with Blistered Tomatoes and Kale
- Simple Roasted Vegetables
- Bucatini Pasta with Arugula Pesto & Heirloom Tomatoes
- Brothy Tortellini Soup w/ Spinach, White Beans & Basil
- Farmers Market Vegetable Soup
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup 1x
- Category: sauces, condiments,
- Method: blended
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
A delicious easy recipe for Arugula Pesto designed to enliven soups, stews, cassoulets, sandwiches and pasta dishes. It’s vegan and made with almonds, basil, and lemon zest adding a peppery brightness to dishes you are already making!
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1/4 cup toasted almonds, pinenuts or smoked almonds
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 1 cup packed arugula
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2–3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3–1/2 cup light flavored olive oil(make sure oil is not bitter)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (if your almonds are heavily salted, use salt to taste.)
- 1/4 cracked pepper
Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse repeatedly until uniformly chopped and well combined.
For a looser pesto, add a little more oil, and for a sturdier pesto, add a few more almonds.
Arugula Pesto will keep 4-5 days in the fridge.
For a delicious, smoky taste, try using smoked almonds– heavenly! ( Add salt to taste)
Pesto can be frozen for later- squeeze a thin layer of lemon juice over the pesto before freezing.
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 133
- Sugar: 0.5 g
- Sodium: 76.4 mg
- Fat: 11.7 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 6.9 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 2.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: arugula pesto, almond pesto, vegan pesto, dairy free pesto, how to freeze pesto, pesto without pine nuts, pesto with almonds
Excellent. Your recipes never disappoint.
I added nutritional yeast for a cheese like flavor.
Absolutely delicious vegan pesto – the smoked almonds are a must. We love pesto and make different ones – this one has become one of our favorites.
Glad you gave this a go!
I find it useful to blanch the basil for twenty seconds to preserve the color. I throw the arugula in the water too for convenience, but that’s clearly not necessary. I do this one with pistachios as well. Great recipe!
Love these sauces – do you have any that might use/spice that half bag of salad leaves always left in the fridge? Hate to waste anything!
Let me think about this Rosemary. What type of salad leaves?
Seriously, the best pesto EVER!!! Thank you!
The only pesto recipe I ever use now. We have made this at least ten times, and it’s the main reason we grow so much basil and arugula. A couple times I have added 1 drop of liquid smoke because I couldn’t get smoked almonds. Love this and your chimichurri sauce too, even just with celery as a dip. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much! Glad you like this one!
This is INCREDIBLE on homemade tomato soup!
I am wondering if I can substitute cilantro for angular and use chopped walnuts instead of pine nuts. I”ll try this and let you know how this turns out. Thank you Sylvia! Your’s is my “go to” cooking website!
I think cilantro and walnuts would taste good- different form this, but tasty!
What can I substitute for fresh basil? It’s February – no fresh basil in sight. Can I substitute dried basil and increase the volume of fresh arugula leaves?
You could try but the fresh basil really makes it.
Hi, as a home gardener, I make a similar recipe using lettuce leaves (we often have a glut of one thing or another that I try to use up as best I can). A combo of lettuce, arugular, and celery leaves works great too.
By the way, arugular is called rocket in Australia!
Thanks for all your great recipes
This was fantastic. Great flavor and I didn’t miss the cheese at all. I chose to add a little more garlic, but it really didn’t need it. Thanks for the recipe!
Hello! Love your blog and recipes! Does the oil have to be light or would avocado oil work?
Avocado is fine as long is it not bitter.
I enjoy every recipe that I’ve tried from your blog!
Thanks so much Shelley!
Good morning Sylvia, I just want you to know that I am loving your blog and recipes! Several have become regulars but the problem is I have been putting on weight!!! I made your Indian Vegetarian Sheperd’s Pie 2 days ago and it was delicious. I never was a lentils fan, but I have found the path….thanks also for your inspirational quotes, Kathy