Spinach arugula pesto is so much tastier than any store bought version! Peppery, bitter, salty, and toasted notes make it a terrific addition to many dishes.
After a winter spent baking sourdough bread the bright greens of spring produce are so exciting to me! I ordered fresh spinach and arugula from the market last weekend. What a nice change from the beiges and browns of lavender sugar cookies, buckwheat banana bread, and Nova Scotia oatcakes.
I love pesto. It’s such a versatile condiment. This spinach arugula pesto recipe, made with toasted almonds, is a brilliant addition to your favourite pasta, pizza, or sandwich. In fact, it’s so fresh, and can be used in so many ways, I’ve written the recipe to yield 2 cups. We always run out quickly!
Ingredients To Make Spinach Arugula Pesto:
- raw slivered almonds
- Parmesan cheese
- olive oil
Spinach vs Arugula
Spinach and arugula are leafy greens. They are both high in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Full grown spinach is sturdier than arugula. The leaves have a slight bitterness, especially if they are large. Cooking spinach can bring out even more bitter notes.
Arugula leaves are more delicate than spinach. A member of the mustard family, arugula is often described as peppery or spicy. In my experience, arugula grown at home, or purchased from the farmers’ market, is spicier than arugula bought at the grocery store.
How To Toast Almonds
I used slivered almonds for this recipe, however, any raw, skinned almonds will do. Just be mindful the roasting time may change. To toast almonds:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scatter the raw slivered almonds evenly over the prepared sheet.
- Place the almonds in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and golden, stirring halfway. Cool before using.
Why Real Parmesan Is Worth The Splurge
Sadly, “Parmesan” is an all encompassing North American term for both real-deal Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the fake stuff in the green shaker. One costs money, and one is cheap. One has incredible flavour, and the other is mediocre. They are nothing alike.
My partner Chris almost passes out when I text him to “pick up Parm”, which translates to, “Please bring home a $15-$20 wedge of cheese.” Like most ingredients of caliber, a little goes a long way. Once you’ve broken off a crumbly piece of real Parmigiano, and experienced the exquisite pungent, nutty taste, and gritty, salt-crystal texture, it’s hard to go back to cheap knock-offs.
Used with deliberation, a $20 wedge of Parmigiano lasts a while. I guarantee you, your pasta, risotto, and spinach arugula pesto will taste so much better for it.
How To Make Spinach Arugula Pesto If You Don’t Own A Food Processor
A regular blender, or handheld immersion blender are both good substitutes to make pesto if you don’t own a food processor. Of course, if you don’t own either of those, and you’re feeling super ambitious, you can make pesto by hand with a mortar and pestle.
Crushing pesto ingredients to a paste with a mortar and pestle is no picnic, however, if you choose to do so you will be rewarded with a creamier paste, and less oil separation.
How To Store Homemade Pesto
This recipe makes approximately 2 cups (500ml) of spinach arugula pesto. When I make a batch we eat it all within a week.
Store homemade pesto in the fridge, in clean glass jars with tight fitting lids. Some people top their jar of pesto with a drizzle of olive oil before storing in the fridge. Pesto will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Another option is to process the jars if you’d rather make a shelf stable batch for the pantry.
Can You Freeze Spinach Arugula Pesto?
With two fingers worth of space left at the top of the jar you can store jars of pesto in the freezer. I don’t recommend doing this because if the jars crack in the freezer it’s a wasted batch. Also, trying to scoop frozen pesto from a jar can be a pain.
A good way to freeze pesto is to portion it into ice cube trays. Place the trays in the freezer overnight. Once the pesto is frozen, remove the cubes from the trays, and store them in plastic zipper bags. Use them as needed.
Another good way to freeze pesto is to find a baking sheet that fits in your freezer. Line it with parchment paper and spread the pesto over the paper in an even layer. Freeze the pesto overnight, then break pieces off like chocolate bark. Place the broken off pieces of pesto in a plastic zipper bag and return the pesto to the freezer.
Pesto will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
24 Uses For Spinach Arugula Pesto:
- Cook you favourite pasta, drain, and toss with pesto and a good glug of olive oil. Serve with grated Parmesan.
- Make a pesto pasta bake. Cook pasta to package directions and drain. Toss the cooked pasta with your favourite ingredients (cooked chicken or shrimp, sun dried or cherry tomatoes, blanched asparagus, or anything else you like) and spinach arugula pesto. Place in a baking dish, top with cheese and breadcrumbs, and bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 25-30 minutes.
- Spread spinach arugula pesto on raw chicken pieces and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through.
- Use as a dip for grilled pancetta-wrapped shrimp.
- Spread pesto on pizza dough before adding your favourite toppings.
- Make a Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic, but dollop the salad with pesto instead of of using fresh basil leaves.
- Use as a sauce on top of a grilled steak.
- Dollop it on your eggs for breakfast.
- Spread it on a sandwich or inside a wrap.
- Stir it into your favourite tomato-based pasta sauce.
- Add it to ground beef when making meatloaf, burgers, or meatballs.
- Use spinach arugula pesto as a condiment on grilled corn.
- Shake it into your favourite homemade salad dressing recipe.
- Toss steamed or roasted vegetables with pesto.
- Mix it into your favourite potato salad recipe.
- Use it as an addition to egg or chicken salad for sandwiches.
- Mix it into mayonnaise to make pesto mayo.
- Stir some into hummus.
- Use it as marinade for chicken, seafood, or beef.
- Include it in the filling for stuffed mushrooms.
- Stir it into risotto.
- Whisk it into quiche filling. I especially love this buttermilk quiche recipe.
- Mix it into this charred corn couscous salad.
- Stir a spoonful into this minestrone soup.
More Fresh Pesto Recipes You Might Like:
Home Grown Basil & Garlic Scape Pesto A simple to follow recipe using fresh garlic scapes.
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Only 7 ingredients, and just a few minutes to make!
Sicilian Tomato Pesto (Pesto Trapanese) A rich tomato sauce with almonds and fresh basil.
Pepita And Parsley Pesto A fall-style pesto using the last of the parsley before the weather turns.
- 100g slivered almonds, raw
- 2 cups (60g) spinach
- 2 cups (60g) arugula
- 1 cup (50g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon (7g) flaky salt
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 cup (250ml) olive oil, plus extra for topping the jars
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scatter the slivered almonds on the baking sheet and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. The almonds should be fragrant and golden. Set aside to cool.
- While the nuts are toasting, wash and dry the spinach and arugula, using a salad spinner if you have one.
- Place the spinach, arugula, toasted almonds, grated Parmesan, salt, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 to 10 times, or until the mixture is coarse and chunky.
- With the food processor running, drizzle the olive oil into the greens in a slow, steady stream. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor a couple of time while adding the oil. Once all of the oil is incorporated, run the food processor 5 to 10 seconds longer. Adjust the pesto to taste.
- Spoon the pesto into clean jars and top with a little extra olive oil. As the pesto sits, some of the mixed in oil will rise. Store, tightly covered, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Food Processor Substitutions - A regular blender, or handheld immersion blender are both good substitutes to make pesto if you don't own a food processor. Of course, if you don't have either of those, and you're feeling super ambitious, you can make pesto by hand with a mortar and pestle.
To Store Pesto - Store homemade pesto in the fridge, in clean glass jars with tight fitting lids. Some people top their jar of pesto with a drizzle of olive oil before storing in the fridge. Pesto will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks. Another option is to process the jars if you'd rather make a shelf stable batch for the pantry.
How To Freeze Pesto - With two fingers worth of space left at the top of the jar you can store jars of pesto in the freezer. I don't recommend doing this because if the jars crack in the freezer it's a wasted batch. Also, trying to scoop frozen pesto from a jar can be a pain. A good way to freeze pesto is to portion it into ice cube trays. Place the trays in the freezer overnight. Once the pesto is frozen, remove the cubes from the trays, and store them in plastic zipper bags. Use them as needed. Another good way to freeze pesto is to find a baking sheet that fits in your freezer. Line it with parchment paper and spread the pesto over the paper in an even layer. Freeze the pesto overnight, then break pieces off like chocolate bark. Place the broken off pieces of pesto in a plastic zipper bag and return the pesto to the freezer. Pesto will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 92Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 84mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g
DISCLAIMER - NUTRITIONAL DATA IS PROVIDED BY A CALCULATOR AND IS A ROUGH ESTIMATION OF THE NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION IN THIS RECIPE.
Did you make this recipe? If yes, please let me know how it worked out for you! Leave a comment below, or share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #kellyneil.