Arugula Pistachio Pesto

Pesto might be one of my favorite sauces. It feels so fancy, and yet, it’s so easy to make! But did you know you can make pesto out of almost any combination of greens and nuts? In fact, you could even use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of nuts if you prefer. It doesn’t have to be “just” basil and pine nuts anymore. In this Arugula Pistachio Pesto, I even dialed down the oil to make it a little lighter.

Arugula Pistachio Pesto in a jar

I love arugula in this pesto for its peppery flavor. I paired it with roasted parsnips, which turned out to be a match made it heaven! Creamy, caramelized parsnips with a peppery bang!

Arugula is really low in calories, making it a great addition to most anything. It’s naturally low in fat and sodium, too. And a good source of vitamin A and folate. As a leafy green, it is high in vitamin K – an important thing to know if you’re on blood thinners (check the USDA database for more nutrient information!). I recommend most people eat leafy greens every day, so Arugula Pistachio Pesto is a really fun way to meet that recommendation!

Another recommendation I often give is to eat a handful of nuts every day. Pistachios in particular may lower cardiovascular disease risk. It is thought they can do this by lowering LDL cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. Specifically, it seems pistachios might play a role in keeping blood vessels relaxed, especially if you already have high cholesterol.

I used miso paste instead of Parmesan cheese to further increase the heart protective benefits of this delicious pesto! Cheese is high in sodium and saturated fat; both of which increase cardiovascular risk. Miso has no saturated fat, and although it is a source of sodium, it seems the soy protein in it counteracts the sodium. This protects the heart, and might even lower blood pressure. With the fantastic flavor miso lends, you won’t miss the cheese at all. Promise!

Arugula Pistachio Pesto in a jar
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Arugula Pistachio Pesto

A bit of a nontraditional pesto with HUGE flavor!

Course Condiment
Cuisine Italian
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 69 kcal
Author Laura Yautz


  • 4 oz fresh Arugula
  • 1/4 cup salt free Pistachios (raw or toasted are both fine)
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Miso paste
  • 2 Garlic cloves


  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor, and process until the desired level of smoothness is reached.

  2. If the pesto seems too dry, add water, 1 Tbsp at a time, until you reach a sauce-like consistency.

Nutrition Facts
Arugula Pistachio Pesto
Amount Per Serving (1 Tbsp)
Calories 69 Calories from Fat 59
% Daily Value*
Fat 6.6g10%
Saturated Fat 0.9g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4.4g
Sodium 118.6mg5%
Potassium 76.4mg2%
Carbohydrates 2.2g1%
Fiber 0.6g3%
Sugar 0.6g1%
Protein 1.3g3%
Vitamin A 12.8IU0%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 22.4mg2%
Iron 0.4mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Arugula Pistachio Pesto Pinterest Graphic

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