Monday, July 27, 2009

Arugula and Walnut Pesto

Most people think pesto is always made with basil. However this can’t be further from the truth. Pesto in Italian means pounded and is the generic name for any number of sauces made in a mortar and pestle.

Tonight I made an arugula and walnut pesto because I like the bitterness of arugula. I also like that arugula is another member of the cancer fighting cruciferous vegetable family. Walnuts and chia seeds are high in omega 3’s. I used the chia seeds in place of olive oil and it worked well.

If you are looking for a sauce that is different from the usual basil pesto this is a healthy pesto that has big flavor.

Arugula and Walnut Pesto
Makes ¾ cups of pesto – 12 tablespoons


1 bunch of arugula (approximately 1 cup, packed)
¼ cup of walnuts, toasted
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons of water, filtered
1 teaspoon of chia seeds
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt


Place the arugula, walnuts and garlic in the food processor and blend.

Put the chia seeds in the water and allow to stand for 10 minutes so that the seeds absorb some of the water.

After 10 minutes put the chia seeds and water in the food processor with the arugula. Add the kosher salt to the food processor and puree until thoroughly combined.

Use this pesto with pasta, on sandwiches or crostini.

Nutritional Information (per tablespoon):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 18.17
Calories From Fat (77%) - 13.97

Total Fat - 1.67g
Saturated Fat - 0.16g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 39.87mg
Potassium - 19.28mg
Total Carbohydrates - 0.66g
Fiber - 0.28g
Sugar - 0.1g
Protein - 0.48g


This is one of our favorite pesto flavor combinations (arugula and walnut). I have substituted the chia seeds for the extra virgin olive oil I normally use, and the flavor and texture are just as good. This pesto makes a great spread on top of a veggie burger or on a sandwich. It is also great on pasta and would work well on the zucchini spaghetti. If you like the bitterness of arugula you will love this version of pesto.

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