Pesto is the… besto (sorry). For an alternative to basil pesto, try this arugula pesto. It’s dairy free/vegan. For a creamier version, see my cilantro pesto recipe here.
I had a surplus of some exceptionally peppery and big, leafy arugula the other day and needed to find a good way to utilize it. I love arugula – it’s a wonderful, spicy leafy green to eat raw and add to mixed salad greens. Try it with roasted beets and goat cheese or alone, drizzled with olive oil and aged balsamic.
Arugula is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. It contains a group of anticancer compounds that have potent antioxidant activity, and stimulate the body’s natural detoxifying enzymes. Arugula and other deep greens contain phytochemicals such as chlorophyll, essential for oxygenating the body and flooding it with nutrients.
Because I avoid dairy, I needed to create a dairy-free pesto recipe. I LOVE pesto, and it’s great the traditional way with basil, pine nuts, and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Check out this alternative, using miso and walnuts. Delicious.
Arugula Pesto (Dairy Free)
2 cups arugula leaves, de-stemmed and packed (i also threw in a little fresh basil i had left over; can add flat leaf parsley too)
6 garlic cloves, lightly roasted in a pan for about 10 minutes for a milder flavor. Using raw garlic can overpower the other subtle flavors, but you can throw in 1-2 raw cloves if you don’t want to roast.
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
2 tbsp white miso (or you can use nutritional yeast as a sub)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (toasting them quickly beforehand will deepen the flavor)
Place everything in food processor and blend, drizzling olive oil in. Remove and add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Serve over roasted vegetables, spaghetti squash, chicken, hamburgers, or scrambled eggs. Enjoy.
Mary Vance is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and author specializing in digestive health. In addition to her coaching practice, she offers courses to help you heal your gut and kick nagging digestive issues for good. Mary lives in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe in Northern California. Read more about her coaching practice here and her background here.