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Arugula Mint Pistachio Pesto

The night before my cousins returned to the homeland, I stopped by to say goodbye and a few hours later, I walked out with a HUGE bag of fresh produce; they gave it to me to spare it from going to waste. Back home, I learnt my mom had the same thing happen with her sister. Our fridge was overflowing with greens, vegetables, eggs, fruit, etc etc and only two of us to eat it.

I'd run into this great short article on pesto making. Eva and Gabriel were coming over for dinner and my mom had bought a beautiful salmon fillet. One of my go-to dishes at dinner parties is baked salmon with pesto, so armed with new-found valor after reading the post, I decided to make the pesto from scratch. Familiar entree, and fast way to use up one of those boxes of greens: win win.

I followed the article's rule of thumb: what would I use in a salad? Arugula and mint. The combination was delicious. The arugula is strong and peppery, the mint (and lemon) add brightness and freshness. I resisted the dairy monster, and skipped the parmesan: I did not miss it (tho feel free to use if you want to). The pistachios give it sweetness and texture.

I free-formed the ratios and the end result was wonderful. We spread it across the salmon fillet and baked it - it tastes summery. You can use it as you would any pesto: in frittatas, with grilled vegetables, mixed into salad dressings, with eggs, mixed into salad dressing, in grain and pasta dishes, as a dipping sauce or spread for bread and sandwiches, soup garnish, etc etc...

I really recommend reading the article, it gives very helpful pointers. Learn to gauge the texture of your own food processor (or blender). Play with the proportions of ingredients until you find the mix you like best.

Ingredients: 2 cups packed arugula (meaning I pushed it down into the measuring cup until I couldn't fit any more) 3/4 cup of loose mint, about 30 leaves (meaning I pressed down slightly into cup) 1 small garlic clove, smashed and chopped 1/2 cup roasted pistachios, cooled zest of 1 lemon juice of 1 lemon 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil pinch of red pepper flakes salt and pepper to taste (adjust for salt if pistachios are salted)

Roughly chop the arugula and mint leaves.

Add half of the following in the food processor: greens, mint, garlic, pistachios and lemon and zest. Pulse until just combined. Add remainder half of same ingredients, and pulse until a rough paste is formed, scraping down sides as needed. Make sure to not over blend, you want texture!

With motor running, drizzle in olive oil (drizzling it in will emulsify it), until the pesto looks uniform. Season with salt and pepper and pinch of red pepper flakes. Taste and add more salt, garlic, nuts as needed to taste.

Yields about 2 cups

Raw chipotle cashew cream, sunburst zucchini, avocado, smoked salmon, egg whites, topped with Arugula Mint Pesto

Zucchini salmon tower, arugula pesto and chipotle cashew cream

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