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

Arugula, also known as ‘roquette’, 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.  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 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.
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!
·         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 beginning to toast (about 3-4 minutes). You will note them beginning to brown.  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.
If you desire the pesto to be thinner, add more olive oil.  Serve over freshly made pasta and some chopped pistachio nuts for garnish.
I used brown rice fusili pasta.  As a gluten free diner, finding good gluten free pasta can be a challenge.  Often the taste or structure do not compare to regular pasta with gluten.  Tinkyada brand pastas in my opinion have great flavor as well as structure that is more like regular wheat flour pasta.


  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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