Arugula “Pesto”

Alright, you’ve got me. This isn’t a pesto, technically. It’s not even close. It has no nuts, no garlic*, no cheese, and no basil. What it does have is a brilliant bright green color, a pepper-y flavor, and it is a great on pasta salad. This recipe was born out of an allergy to basil & an avoidance of nightshades- which left me in a pretty boring spot pasta-topping-wise. I was getting tired of plain EVOO, so I added some arugula and lemon juice and this “pesto” substitute was born!

*I am currently avoiding garlic, but I’m sure this would taste amazing with some added!

Arugula “Pesto”

A pepper-y and citrus-y simple pasta sauce that is perfect for summer!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cuisine American, Italian


  • Food Processor


  • 1 Cup Arugula
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper


  • Place arugula in food processor with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and the juice of half of a lemon
  • Pulse for 30 seconds and add additional olive oil or seasonings to taste.
Keyword arugula, citrus, dressing, lemon, pasta, pasta sauce, sauces

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