Recipe: Walnut-Arugula Pesto

published Feb 1, 2018
Sponsored by California Walnuts
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If you love all things pesto, here’s a version that’s packed with flavor and has an added bonus boost of omega-3s from California walnuts. This easy upgrade to regular pesto adds peppery arugula, mint, garlic, and lots of lemon, which come together to make a great topping on socca (chickpea) flatbread. It even has the added bonus that it can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator or even frozen for a few months for when the pesto craving strikes!

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Easy-to-find, economical walnuts stand in for the more traditional pine nuts to make for a heartier pesto. Arugula and mint are year-round staples that bring a different, slightly brighter flavor than basil. A quick spin in the food processor with the other ingredients yields a vibrant pesto that you can spoon onto lamb chops or toss with hot pasta for an elegant but effortless dinner. But we loved it on this Socca Flatbread because it really let the pesto be the star of the show.

(Image credit: Christopher Broe)

Walnut-Arugula Pesto

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Nutritional Info


  • 6 cups

    loosely packed arugula (4 1/2 ounces)

  • 1 cup

    raw California walnuts (3 ounces)

  • 1/2 cup

    loosely packed fresh mint leaves

  • 1 tablespoon

    finely grated lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)

  • 1 tablespoon

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 clove


  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2/3 cup

    extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Place the arugula, walnuts, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through, 20 to 30 seconds total.

  2. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil in a slow, steady stream, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. After all of the oil has been incorporated, process for another 15 to 30 seconds until the sauce is emulsified.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The pesto can be made up to 1 week in advance. Cover the surface of the pesto with olive oil to prevent discoloration, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.

This post was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio and is sponsored by California Walnuts.
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