Arugula-Walnut Pesto

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on

Arugula is one of those greens that pairs well with dried fruit and legumes. I like to have a play of flavors bouncing off of each other as I am chewing it. Cranberries, chickpeas and arugula. Roasted butternut squash, roasted beets with cranberries and arugula. These are just two examples of how I enjoy arugula. Another way I enjoy it is, as I call it, Love bowls. Love bowls are basically cooked grains, both raw and cooked vegetables, sauce and garnished with a protein rich topping, which is optional. It is as if the tastebuds are dancing the tango or the waltz.

I must say… For some odd reason when I first tried wild arugula from my college professor’s farm in Oakland, California, I found it really tasty; it has a spicy kick to it compared to the arugula we see in the supermarkets. Arugula can be feisty when it wants to be. I liiike it.


5 bunches of arugula, washed

1 1/4 cup Violife mozzarella shreds

1 cup walnuts

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 bunch fresh basil, optional

Juice from 1 lemon

6 oz extra virgin olive oil, plus more

Salt, according to taste


Add all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a food processor or blender. Blend for a few seconds to break down the nuts and the ingredients. Slowly add the olive oil as the ingredients are blending.

Serve with crackers, spread on sandwiches or toast, use as a pasta sauce or as we had it tonight, serve it with Kite Hill’s Mushroom ravioli topped with roasted mushrooms and a side of dolmades that I bought from Whole Foods. This was a great meal made under 30 minutes.

health benefits

Possible benefits of basil are reducing stomach cramps and nausea, relieves gas, promotes normal bowel function, and aids digestion. (Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible, Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D)


Nutritional profile: 

53% carbs

25% protein 

22% fat 

10 calories per 1.5 cup serving, raw

Protein: 1g


Overall, nuts are a rich source of protein, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, boron (raw nuts), copper, fiber, magnesium, manganese; Brazil nuts in particular are rich in selenium.

Walnuts, specifically:

Nutritional profile: 

83% fats 

9% carbs 

8% protein

185 calories per 1 ounce serving 

Protein: 4g


I added extra garlic, as always, to the pesto mix. I used about 5-6 garlic cloves, maybe 1 or two more tiny ones. I consider garlic to be a superfood; superfood does not always have to break our wallet or be an ingredient that comes from a land abroad, like acai, goji, or golden berries, which are typically visualized in peoples minds when they hear the word “superfood”. Sometimes it is grown in our very own garden. 

Garlic is a good natural plant based source of copper, magnesium, potassium, and selenium. 

Studies have shown that the daily consumption of between 7 – 28 cloves of raw garlic may help prevent cholesterol buildup and stomach cancer. While using one or 2 cloves a day may not have the same effect, garlic in this quantity can work miracles on bland food.

Nutritional profile:

85% carbs 

12% protein

3% fat 

5 calories/clove (raw)


Lemon juice, especially when added to greens, add brightness to the dish. Lemons contain magnesium and phytochemcials such as limonoids and terpenes. Limonoids contain detoxification properties and can help conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease prevention. Terpenes contain anticancer properties and can help cancer prevention and hormone balance.  

Nutritional profile: 

63% carbs 

24% protein

13% fat 

20 calories/medium lemon (raw, with peel) 

Protein: 1g

  • “Vegetarian Flavor Bible”, Karen Page 
  • “Prescription for Natural Healing”, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC
  • “Prescription for Natural Healing”, James. E. Balch, MD 
  • “Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition”, Paul Pitchford, 3rd Edition
  • “Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible”, Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D

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