Dips, Sauces and Spreads, Gluten-free

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce

Loreto March 21, 2017

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Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce, a delicious sauce that will heighten any dish to lovely levels of flavor, with its spicy and fresh taste and green vibrant color.

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce,  a type of sauce that has graced successful pasta dishes, that we have put a twist to using lovely baby arugula, and pistachio, along with the usual chorus line of Parmigiano, olive oil, and garlic.



One thing that has truly blessed my life is Nicoletta. She has brought inspiration, roots, and lovely recipes that I had no idea about, till sharing life with her. Pesto was not one sauce that I would have to say graced our table at home when I was younger. Being Italian immigrants and in a land so strange from what my parents knew feeling a bit an outsider drove them to the integration of a culture and recipes. This drive forced them to diversify their ways and for the sake of acceptance they became Ital-Canadian, more Canadian than Italian, and with that many recipes became frozen in time.

Well, it is now 2017 and the birth of food frenzy has brought back culture and recipes that were locked in a weathered book deep in some cupboard. With a quick burst of air sending stagnation into millions of air particles, and a brush of the hand symbolic of a wizard releasing a spell, old traditional recipes are released and the once small world becomes big, and creativity freed to flow wherever it may want to be explored, as we have done with this Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce.

We are very fortunate to have beautiful produce available to us. We have to be grateful as there are parts of the world where produce is non-existent. I can go into you know the wailing about the war and the great depression, but I won’t because I am just wanting to be grateful and live in the moment and keep it fresh as this recipe exemplifies. The usual pesto involves fresh basil leaves, garlic, Parmigiano, pine nuts, and olive oil of course. Lately, there has been this craze and pesto sauces are broadening and creativity is definitely flowing. Cooks and chefs are using different greens and different nuts such as walnuts, pecans, and pistachios as we have done. Arugula being substituted for basil gives us a different flavor angle and one that I would have to say is quite pleasant and delightful. We had tried the pistachios as a substitute for the pine nuts in our pesto before, and quite frankly fell in love with it. Being as adventurous as we are we decided to try some other substitutions, like arugula instead of basil, and the outcome far more flavorful than we expected.

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce, here it comes!

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce

Our Old Strathcona Farmers Market has so many wonderful vendors, and the unique thing is we go each week but every Saturday is always fresh and first for us as we discover new things. One vendor that we almost always stop by is West Country Herbs. This stand is so beautiful and organized. Lovely leafy greens such as lettuce, mixed lettuce greens, baby kale, herbs, and of course the baby arugula we used. All these wonderfully organically grown produce washed and vibrant in their own bags nicely displayed on the cases, manned mostly by a woman with a beautiful smile, and sometimes a man also smiley, and always absolutely gracious, smiles go a long way in the market business.

The process to the finale of this baby arugula pesto is quite simple. All you will need is a food processor, the baby arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano, garlic, lemon juice, pistachios, and of course, some Italian gold extra virgin cold pressed D.O.P. olive oil. A desire to create and a passion for food goes that extra mile and a finger that likes to push buttons, and success in your cards.

The pesto is beautiful, a vibrant green silky color, and an equally fresh somewhat spicy kick that flows wonderfully with the Parmigiano, garlic and olive oil. The pistachio adding in a sweet nutty taste to the mix that is well married with all the other flavors. This Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce is a wonderful sauce for pasta such as spaghetti, gnocchi, fusilli, and linguine. But pasta is not the only thing you can use this delightful sauce for. Imagine chicken baked in the oven with this sauce infusing its flavor throughout the protein, a nice fish or grilled vegetables topped with some pesto, or even since BBQ season is upon us a charbroiled steak juicy tender and fragrant, finished off with a dollop of the baby arugula pesto, yum. The options are endless and this is a great way to use up some of those greens lingering in the fridge, remember our motto “waste not want not”.

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce


Song of the day: “Re-arranged” by Limp Bizkit.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto

Baby Arugula Pistachio Pesto Sauce

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1/2 cup of pesto sauce 1x


  • 2 cups fresh organic baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 1/4 cup of shelled toasted pistachio
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin cold pressed D.O.P. olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Fresh crushed sea salt to taste


  1. In a food processor toss in baby arugual, garlic, pistachio, salt, and pulse a bit to release the flavor.
  2. Squeeze in lemon juice and pulse some more.
  3. Add in parmigiano and pulse again.
  4. Slowly drizzle in olive oil till mixture becomes smooth.
  5. Taste and season if required.
  6. Ready to use.
  7. Enjoy!


If you want to store the baby arugula pistachio sauce you can put it in small sealable containers making sure the olive oil tops the pesto sauce, this will ensure the freshness of the pesto and preserve its flavor and aroma. then you can put containers in the freezer till you want to use them.
When you go to use the pesto, take out of freezer and let thaw at room temperature.

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  • Avatar
    Reply annie@ciaochowbambina March 21, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    I can promise you this vibrant pesto will have a place on our table! Wonderful!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 21, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      We are so pleased that you like it Annie, can’t waite for you to try it, exciting.
      Have a wonderful week!

  • Avatar
    Reply Milena | Craft Beering March 21, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Loved reading your perspectives laid out in this post. You are so right about being grateful for fresh produce and abundant food. Not a day passes that I am not, they are blessings to be celebrated. This pesto looks amazing.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 21, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you Milena, for your comment, the pesto was a pl;easure to make and even more of a blessing to eat!
      Cheers and have a great day!

  • Avatar
    Reply Eyecandypopper March 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Delicious! I’ve made arugula several times and I think I like it even more than with basil. It’s so refreshing on many different dishes. I’ve never tried with pistachios though, so I’ll have to give this a try!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 22, 2017 at 11:04 am

      I love all the experimentation and creativity and how us blogger inspire one another. You will love the pistachio it adds a nice sweet nuttiness to the mix and tones the arugula down a bit, but oh so delicious.
      Thanks for commenting.

  • Avatar
    Reply annika March 22, 2017 at 10:52 am

    Amazing recipe and what a delightful post to read… taking me back to the birthplace of the traditional pesto and bringing me back to the present day where we are so fortunate to have variety and the possibility to let our creativity run wild. Since an Italian school mate introduced me to the traditional pesto years ago, I have been in love with it. You won’t believe how much basil I grow in pots in the summer… all destined for making pesto. This year, we will venture into expanding our garden and now I will be sure to grow some arugula as well!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 22, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Hi Annika, what a joy to read this comment, I love hearing the passion in your words and I had pictures in my mind of all the pots of basil and the wonderful heavenly aroma that comes from your yard. I can’t wait to see how you make out with arugula, my parents grow it and it grows so well and is so tasty.
      Have a great middle week!

      • Avatar
        Reply annika March 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        Haha… yes I had images in my mind of my pots of basil as well as I wrote my comment and I am getting impatient for the snow to melt!! I am glad to know that your parents grow arugula… you will have to share some tips with me. For basil, over the years, I have learned that I can let a few of the plants mature enough to flower and dry up and give me seeds for the next season. This year, I will buy the seeds for arugula but I am curious to know if I will be able to collect the seeds in the fall for next year?

        • Loreto
          Reply Loreto March 22, 2017 at 4:48 pm

          Hi Annika, Nicoletta is quite inpatient with winters lingering, I keep reasuring her spring will come. I hope mother nature doesn’t let me down. As for the arugula, my parents plant the seeds in a nice sunny spot of the garden and water a bit but not too much. My mom says if you leave the plants matter they will flower and form seeds, and even if you leave them in the ground they will come back in the spring. I hope that helps!
          Have a great night!

          • Avatar
            annika March 23, 2017 at 8:04 am

            Thank you for the advice Loreto. I am all set now… just need to buy the seeds for this year then! I will be sure to keep you updated!

          • Loreto
            Loreto March 23, 2017 at 4:38 pm

            THank you Annika we look forward to hearing from you

  • Avatar
    Reply Heather March 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    Yum I love pesto and this looks absolutely delicious!! So bright!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm

      Thank you Heather, it was so good and colorful, kust what we need to get ready for spring!

  • Avatar
    Reply Justine @ JustineCelina.com March 22, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I love the bright, clean feeling of this recipe! I’ve never actually made a pesto with pistachios but I bet it’s absolutely delicious. 🙂 Pinning for future reference. Cheers, guys!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 23, 2017 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you Justine, it was so delicious and the pistacchio add a nice sweetness and nuttiness, to the bite of the arugula and acidity of the garlic.
      Have a great week end!

  • Avatar
    Reply Karen March 24, 2017 at 6:31 am

    What a well written post. I love the peppery taste of arugula in pesto…it is great for topping grilled chicken.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 24, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Hi Karen, thank you, I so enjoy writing the posts so many things to say but keeping it on the down low so posts don’t turn into novels. I agree with you on the arugula pesto it has that distinct pepperiness that I so love and the aroma. When we are at my parents picking vegetables from the garden you can smell the arugula, and gets me thinking creatively on how I am going to use it.
      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply adina March 24, 2017 at 8:00 am

    What a beautiful vibrant green color. I make my own pesto all the time, I haven’t bought any in years, it is so easy to make and tastes like a million times better. But I have never made it with arugula, I will keep it mind.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto March 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Thank you Adina for taking the time to comment. Can’t wait for you to try the arugula pesto especially with those roasted pistacchio such a marriage of flavors going on in this sauce, wnd so versatile in usage from pasta to protiens, even tofu or seitan.
      Have fun

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