Recipe: Arugula Hazelnut Miso Pesto

Post by Olivia Martino, Registered Dietitian and Co-Owner, Nourish Northwest


So, yes, this is the second recipe for pesto I have written  in a month.  The reason why is because I keep finding variations that I love and want to share. Traditionally, pesto is made from crushed garlic, salt, pine nuts, basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and sometimes a sheep’s cheese, as well.  It is also traditionally prepared with a mortar and pesto.  Traditional pesto is very lovely as is, especially in the summer when basil is at it’s peak deliciousness.  Only recently, did it occur to me that I am allowed to stray from tradition, especially in the name of convenience.  I have come to find these recent variations from ingredients I had available and needed some cooking inspiration for.  The first pesto recipe I posted was from carrot tops, which was a sustainable solution for a part of the plant that is typically thrown away.  The following one serves as a solution for our overgrown arugula.

So much arugula!
So much arugula!


Pesto is most often used as a sauce for pasta but its uses extend far beyond that.  I love having a container of fresh pesto in the fridge because it has the ability to transform bland dishes to more flavorful ones.  For example, I like to spread pesto between a piece of toast and a fried egg for my breakfast.  Or spoon a few dollops on top of sauteed zucchini or steamed lentils.   Mix with boiled potatoes for a fresh version of potato salad.

Even though I am providing you with a recipe, I’d like to remind you that you, too can stray from what is written.  I used hazelnuts because that is what I had but pecans, almonds or walnuts would also work well.  I used miso to replicate the salty, umami properties of parmesan cheese to make this version vegan. Not vegan? Go for the cheese!  Don’t have arugula? Stick to basil, or substitute kale or spinach.  Whatever you do, enjoy!

Arugula Hazelnut Miso Pesto


Makes: About 1 1/2 cups


4 cups fresh arugula, rinsed, large stems removed

1/3 cup hazelnuts

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoon lemon juice, or more, to taste

2 tablespoons miso, any variety 

1 clove garlic



Combine  about half of the arugula with the remaining ingredients in a food processor. Process until the mixture is a finely and evenly chopped. Add the remaining arugula, about half at a time, and pulse on and off until the entire mixture is a coarse puree. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.



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