Arugula pesto subs arugula for basil for this twist on traditional pesto. It creates a bright, and peppery sauce that is a perfect addition to pasta, chicken, fish, veggies, eggs, and steak. Arugula also is a nutrition powerhouse ! Arugula is a member of the Brassica, or Cruciferous, family. This classification includes mostly cruciferous vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli which are known for their health benefits.
Arugula’s popularity has as much to do with its health benefits as its taste. One study trusted Source cites arugula as being particularly high in cancer-fighting agents.
This delicious green is a nutrient-dense food that is high in fiber and phytochemicals. Arugula is low in sugar, calories, carbohydrates, and fat. It’s high in several vital nutrients. These include:
- Calcium, which helps the blood to clot normally. It’s also necessary for bone health, tooth health, muscle function, and nerve function.
- Potassium, a mineral and an electrolyte that’s vital for heart and nerve function. It also helps the muscles contract normally. Potassium helps to reduce the negative effects of sodium, and it may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure for this reason.
- Folate, a B vitamin. It helps support the production of DNA and other genetic material. It’s particularly important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Folate deficiency in pregnant women may lead to spina bifida, a neural tube defect.
- Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps support the immune system. Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is important for tissue health and the absorption of iron from food.
- Vitamin K, which helps with blood coagulation. If you require a prescription blood thinner, such as warfarin (Coumadin), discuss your vitamin K intake with your doctor prior to changing your eating habits.
- Vitamin A, the umbrella term for a group of fat-soluble retinoids. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, which supports immune function, cell growth, night vision, and overall eye health. It also works to help maintain kidney, lung, and heart function.
- Bitter Greens, Arugula is known as a “bitter green” which is believed to promote natural detoxification of the liver, which regulates cholesterol, balances hormones, detoxifies the blood, and metabolizes fats (source) We need to eat more bitter greens to digest fats in a more efficient manner. They’ll balance your taste buds and reduce cravings.
I was inspired to make a fresh and vibrant arugula pesto after a tour at Vertical Roots hydroponic greens farm. You will definitely want to check out their website to learn more about their process and commitment to producing the best tasting nutrient-dense greens in a sustainable way year-round. Most of our lettuce travels thousands of miles to get to us and most of the nutrition is lost and that lettuce wilts in our fridge within the week. By buying local, hydroponic lettuce your lettuce will last 2-3 weeks in your fridge (which I tested myself) and it still tastes sooo much better than the lettuce boxes that are shipped to us from far away.
I got a beautiful bunch of hydroponic arugula and the peppery taste was not bitter as it can be from commercial arugula, Vertical Roots arugula has a smooth, clean, and crisp crunch to it and it made the best pesto. In the recipe below, I used traditional pine nuts. However, pistachios, cashews, and even hemp hearts for a Nut-free version are also lovely to use in this recipe. Now that we talked about some nutrition facts, sourcing of great local ingredients, let’s get to making some pesto!
P.S. if you make it comment below or tag Rejoice on Instagram or Facebook as I always love seeing your creations.
How to make a Simple Arugula Pesto
- 2 cups arugula
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese use nutritional yeast for dairy-free version
- 1/4 cup Pine nuts
- 1 small Lemon, juiced
- 1/8 tsp celtic or himalayan sea salt
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- Add arugula, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt into the bowl of your food processor or your blender. Pulse for 30 seconds to one minute to break the mixture down.
- Turn your food processor or blender onto a low blend and slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture until blended. I like to taste it and see if I want to add more salt, garlic, or lemon-based on personal preference. Blend well, scrape down the side, and transfer to a sealed jar. It will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
- Add a few tbsp to your pasta or zucchini noodles, mix into a bowl of roasted veggies, or top on fish, chicken, or steak.