Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Brown Rice Fusili Pasta

Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Brown Rice Fusili Pasta -

Arugula, also known as ‘roquette’ (pronounced ‘rocket’), is my all time favorite green.  Its peppery bite and tender texture is something I can’t ever get enough of.

An obvious use for arugula is in salads.  I also love it on pizza too! However last year when making massive batches of pesto at the end of August to freeze for winter, I began to experiment with arugula pesto with great success.  Celebrating the first of the season from our local Farmer’s Market, I decided to glorify it further by using pistachio nuts from my recent road trip to New Mexico in the place of pine nuts.  The results were fabulous AND fast; this entire pesto pasta dish is ready in less than 30 minutes!

Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto -

Traditional pesto is made with basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  It is a very fast and fresh way to dress pasta, as a sauce for chicken or fish, or a sauce for vegetables.  Once you begin to make it you’ll realize the possibilities are endless and it’s such an easy thing to whip up!  I’ve provided my base pesto recipe but you can make it more peppery with more arugula or garlic.  Season to your own preference!

Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Brown Rice Fusili Pasta -
Pasta is very popular in my household.  Being gluten-free has introduced us to new varieties of pasta we might not ever had tried on our own.  Loving shapes and textures in my food, I used a brown rice fusili pasta to pair with the Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto.  Finding a sturdy non-wheat pasta can be tricky.  Often the taste or structure do not compare to regular pasta with gluten. Through our experimentation we’ve found Tinkyada brand brown rice pastas in my opinion have great flavor as well as structure that is more like regular wheat flour pasta.  It also comes in a variety of traditional shapes (spaghetti, linguine, penne, etc) making adaptation of traditional gluten-based pasta recipes very easy!
Arugula Pistachio Pesto with Brown Rice Fusili Pasta-

Toasted Pistachio Arugula Pesto with Brown Rice Fusili Pasta (gluten free)


  • 4-5 cups arugula, washed, long stems removed
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup pistachio nuts, shelled
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat until warm. Add the pistachio nuts, stirring frequently until they begin to toast and become lightly brown (about 3-4 minutes). Be careful to not allow them to burn.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place 4 cups arugula, garlic clove, toasted pistachio nuts and olive oil. Process until liquefied, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary. Add salt and pepper to taste. Note: If thinner pesto is desired, add more olive oil.
  3. Serve over freshly made pasta with some chopped pistachio nuts for garnish.


  1. says

    Yay for Tinkyada! It's the only pasta I use. Absolutely LOVE the arugula pesto! I was just thinking about your sorrel post the other day and thinking about that in pesto form- I definitely need to give alternative pesto greens a go. CanNOT wait for my farmer's market and CSA to get going!

  2. says

    we really are sistahs from another mother! During this 'vegan' phase, I've been making a lot of pestos, and I've been dying to make one with pistachios and haven't gotten around to it. I LOVE PISTACHIOS. I'm totally going to make this. glad you like the goddess dressing recipe. its so yummy on arugula. 🙂

  3. says

    oh wow! Great minds think alike 😉 You made pasta as well! Your pesto looks delicious, I must say that I made rukolla/rocket pesto before, I just use sunflower seeds. But since I read an article about Italian living in POland that sunflower seeds are great substitute to be used in pesto, I use them all the time. Pistachio on the other hand sound more than yummy!
    btw, to anwser your question I'm going to Colchester to visit Mr Big Guy. Colchester is one of the oldest towns in UK (reaching back to roman times) so I'm quite excited.

  4. says

    We always get a bunch of arugula in with our CSA during the spring/summer and I never know what to do with it besides salads – now I've got something new to try! =)

  5. says

    such beautiful images of a truly delicious pasta dish! I have never made arugula pesto, but I do love pistachio's! thank you so much for teaching me a new pesto today!

  6. says

    I only make my pesto with a combination of toasted pistachios and pine nuts. The former lend such a nice nutty taste to the pesto–I know yours is great because of this. Must try with arugula next time, though. I bet the peppery quality of the arugula is great. 🙂

  7. The Mistress of Spices says

    I have long been looking for the perfect arugula pesto recipe, and this looks like it could be it! My cheese hating husband will love that this is cheeseless. Thanks for sharing!


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