Plants With Benefits: Arugula Pesto Pasta

Posted by on January 10, 2014

arugula pesto Michael Nolan

Plants with Benefits

When making a side salad for dinner? Consider using arugula. If you’re not keen on including arugula as the only green in the salad mix, than include it as at least one of the other greens; you’ll be glad you did. Arugula is commonly referred to as The Rocket…for a reason. But arugula can be used in other amazing ways.

Excerpt from Plants with Benefits:

Though the bitter tang of arugula’s oak-shaped leaves might be too spicy for your palate, its aphrodisiac effects might just have you reaching for that second bite anyway. Click to Tweet!


arugula pesto Michael Nolan


I asked my friend, Michael Nolan, to share one of his many recipes using arugula. As I imagined, he created something exceptional, unexpected, and oh so delicious, and it all started with arugula, a plant with benefits. Enjoy!

From Michael:

I am a huge fan of arugula and its unexpected peppery bite. While it is one of my favorite salad add-ins, I craved more. I wanted warmth and depth of flavor that just doesn’t come from even the most tasty of cold salads. Click to Tweet!

When faced with an abundance of arugula on the eve of a forecasted ice storm, I knew I had to act fast. I harvested the goods and then headed for my pantry. That’s when it hit me.

Arugula Pesto!

Of course! It made perfect sense. Five minutes to harvest and gather the ingredients, another couple of minutes in the blender or food processor and I had a brilliant green pesto that carried just enough of that peppery kick to make people wonder how you did it.

Michael Nolan arugula-pesto-ingredients-620

Arugula Pesto


  • a large handful of fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup olive oil +/-
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  1. Place half of the olive oil in a blender or food processor followed by the arugula, Parmesan, and pecans. Pulse until everything begins to combine and drizzle in additional olive oil until it is thoroughly blended to a creamy consistency.
  2. Taste for seasoning before adding salt as the Parmesan can often be quite salty by itself.
  3. Toss pesto with hot pasta, add fresh cracked black pepper and garnish shaved Parmesan.
TIP: My arugula pesto will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days, and it freezes perfectly for up to 30 days.
I make it for dinner recently and found Michael’s arugula pesto equally tasted on pasta as bread.


Michael NolanMichael Nolan, The Garden Rockstar™ is a writer, speaker and noted authority on gardening, homesteading and food security. He is a published author and former editor at The Home Depot Garden Club.

Michael Nolan loves gardening. He’s been doing it longer than he has been able to walk. As he got older and began to see how many rules seemed to be associated with gardening he suddenly realized how stupid it was for anyone to think that he was actually going to pay attention to them. Michael Nolan is anything but a follower.

Michael’s book I Garden: Urban Style gives readers a relaxed and informal introduction to gardening in a variety of environments, making it possible for everyone to grow no matter what their previous success rate.


Helen Yoest


4 Responses to “Plants With Benefits: Arugula Pesto Pasta”

  1. This is going on my list of must cooks. Sexy and delicious! Yum!

    Thanks – keep bringing on the recipes!


  2. HelenYoest says:

    Thanks, Shawna, and I look forward to yours in a couple of week, plus the one you contributed to the book! Woot!

  3. I love Michael’s take on pesto, and the combination of arugula with pecans is southern deliciousness!

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