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Spicy Arugula Basil Pesto

021 A Spicy Arugula Basil Pesto.jpg
021 A Spicy Arugula Basil Pesto.jpg

Spicy Arugula Basil Pesto


One of my dear chef friends in Los Angeles made an arugula pesto for family meal and to this day, I still think about it. This is my take on his spicy arugula pesto that can be used in everything from pasta, lasagna, chicken, and even to garnish a beautiful creamy tomato soup.  I like to think he would be proud!

Yield: 2 cups

Oven: N/A

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: N/A

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5 cloves garlic, skin removed, ends trimmed, left whole 

4 cups fresh arugula, washed, dried, left whole

2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, left whole

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for runnier or less for thicker consistency

kosher salt, as needed


1. In a food processor, add garlic and pulse for 5 – 10 seconds, or until minced.

2. Add arugula, basil and salt. Combine until smooth.

3. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream.

4. Check seasoning and serve immediately. If freezing or storing in the fridge for later use, make sure you add cling film directly touching the pesto to prevent oxidation. Note: Freeze in an ice cube tray for quick and easy use during the week.


Kitchen Note: Not all arugula is created equal. I love to buy my arugula from the farmer’s market and always ask for a “peppier” or “spicier” mix. Most often, the ones sold at the store are a little more mild but don’t be afraid to try a sample before making your purchase. Plus, trying greens without any dressing is a great way to test the true flavor without any “maskings.”