Pea and Arugula Pesto

Pool, beach, eat, drink, repeat.

That’s basically my entire Holiday weekend in a nutshell. Oh plus a rousing game of bocce ball (which I lost, btw), a night of fireworks and general silliness with good friends.

Overall, I have no complaints. Except that I want to be doing it all over again.

Today we’re talking about one of my favorite summer staples: pesto. But this is no ordinary pesto. Because there isn’t a single basil leaf within a 50 mile radius (= exaggeration) of this sauce. That’s right. No basil plants were harmed in the making of this pesto. Instead, I’m whirling up some freshly shelled peas (trust me, it’s worth the time it takes to shell them) and some peppery arugula. And I’m skipping out on the Parmesan cheese to keep this Pea and Arugula Pesto completely dairy free. Trust me. You won’t even miss the cheese.


So what can you do with this Pea and Arugula Pesto? Um…how about everything and anything (= exaggeration #2). Toss it with pasta, use it as a sandwich spread, slather it on grilled meats and veggies, or top some little toasts for an easy appetizer (just like I did in the photographs). The possibilities are fairly endless.

Since it’s the start of a new month, we’ve got other seasonal ingredients (in addition to peas and arugula!) to take into consideration while we shop, cook and eat our way through July. So have a peak at Becky’s seasonal produce guide for this month. And better yet, save it to your phone or tablet so you can have it at the ready when you hit the grocery store.


And if you need some recipe suggestions for all of July’s awesome fruits and vegetables, check out what some of your other favorite food bloggers have created for this month by clicking on the links below. And make sure to follow along with the hashtag #eatseasonal (and share what you’re making in your kitchen too!), for even more inspiration and ideas!



Pea and Arugula Pesto

Yield: Makes about 1 cup

Pea and Arugula Pesto


  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup shelled peas (see my notes below)
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. In a dry skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the walnuts until they are just starting to become fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment, blend together the toasted walnuts, garlic, peas, arugula, mint, lemon juice, salt and black pepper until finely chopped, scrapping down the sides of your food processor as necessary. Then with the food processor running, gradually stream in the olive oil, blending until everything is well combined.
  3. Transfer the pesto to a small seal-able container and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it. While pesto is best used when it’s fresh, it can be stored in your refrigerator for several days.


1. If you are using frozen peas, thaw them before using. If you are using freshly shelled peas, blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute, drain and then let them cool before transferring them to your food processor.

July Eat Seasonal Recipes


Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon by Simple Bites

Creamy Grilled Corn Pasta by Completely Delicious

Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie by The Lemon Bowl

Crispy Chicken & Cucumber Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette by Climbing Grier Mountain

Healthy Zucchini Muffins by Gimme Some Oven

Fresh Corn Salad by Bless this Mess

Apricot Glazed Chicken by Vintage Mixer

Spinach Pesto by Mountain Mama Cooks

Papaya Seed Vinaigrette Dressing by Kitchen Confidante

Baked Zucchini Fries with Pesto Yogurt Dipping Sauce by Cookin’ Canuck

Peach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Raspberries by Well Plated

Poached Beets with Star Anise and Cinnamon by Project Domestication

Strawberry Fields Panzanella Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette by Flavor the Moments

How to Make Arugula Pesto by FoodieCrush

59 comments on “Pea and Arugula Pesto”

  1. Pingback: Quick Pickled Strawberries with Black Pepper and Tarragon | Simple Bites

  2. Pingback: Strawberry Fields Panzanella Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette - Flavor the Moments

  3. Pesto is definitely a summer staple for me, too! I love this kind, Liz! Such a great idea to forgo the basil and add in peas and arugula. This looks so delish and your pictures are just stunning!

    • Pesto is just SO GOSH DARN GOOD! Love it on everything. Thanks for the great compliment, Gayle!

  4. Pingback: Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie Recipe - The Lemon Bowl

  5. My hubby had to work all weekend. Which means I went to bed at 8 30 on July 4th and spent the day baking. Alone.
    I’m exciting. I KNOW.
    I LOVE pesto, and this pea and arugula creation is calling my taste buds! pinned!

  6. This looks delicious, and a great way to use fresh peas. Pinning 🙂

  7. Rinse and repeat and repeat x’s 100. Your weekend sounds lovely m’dear! I ate a lot of tacos and fried foods, so mission complete for summer! xo

  8. Such a fun weekend, Liz! General silliness…. yes!! Me tooooo!! Lots of hiking at Mt. Baker, slow mornings, weed pulling and cherry pie for me! Yeeee! It was a good one! I just got bags and bags of various peas at the market this weekend and was thinking of Pea Pesto… but I didn’t think of pairing it with arugula! This sounds just fabulous Liz… I love the vibrancy of pesto, especially pea pesto! Slather it on everything… I like it!

  9. Pingback: Spinach Pesto - Mountain Mama Cooks

  10. Pingback: Papaya Seed Vinaigrette Dressing | Kitchen Confidante

  11. I love pesto in every way, shape, and form. This combination sounds delicious, Liz, and I could totally eat it with a spoon!

  12. Oh my, that green is just so VIBRANT!

  13. Oh this is the best!!! I love pesto in anyway and this is a unique combo 🙂

  14. Sounds like such a lovely weekend! I love playing bocce ball but my team basically never wins. I always blame it on the fact that the game is typically paired with booze 😉 Loving this pea and arugula pesto! I can taste the flavors now!

    • Ha ha – there was definitely booze. And then I wanted to change the rules too – like we should have to chug a beer, spin around a baseball bat and then throw the balls. That would be more fun!

  15. I’m so jealous of your proximity to the beach! Do you by chance need a roommate in your new house?! I’m glad you had a great weekend! I love pesto and really love it when people come up with creative alternatives to basil pesto! This looks awesome, Liz! I wanna put it on some pizza 🙂

    • Thanks, Izzy! I could certainly use a roommate – especially a roommate that will make me pizza! 🙂

  16. Pingback: Apricot Chicken Recipe | Vintage Mixer

  17. LOVE this idea Liz!! I think it would be especially good on a sandwich but I’d probably even eat it by the spoonful. So glad you had a good holiday weekend with your dear friends.

  18. Pingback: Climbing Grier Mountain » crispy chicken & cucumber salad with dijon vinaigrette

  19. Sounds like an awesome weekend to me Liz! I love pesto and this one sounds so different I have to try it! Little pieces of toasted baguette, some of this pesto and maybe a nice fresh strip of roasted red pepper! Yummo!

  20. I super duper love this! I just so happen to have peas and arugula in my garden! This will be the perfect way to use them up. Love!

  21. This is seriously really stunning! Gorgeous!

  22. Liz, pesto is most definitely one of my favorite summer staples. . and I LOVE the pea and arugula combo!!! Gorgeous!

  23. This looks so yummy! Plus both are super easy to grow in the garden…:)

  24. You just described the perfect weekend, Liz! And you’ve got a perfect pesto here, too – love the peas combined with the arugula 🙂

  25. Eating seasonal is my favorite. This pesto is perfection and I would gobble up every one of those toasts!

  26. Your holiday weekend sounds DIVINE! It has been so rainy in my neck of the woods that pool hopping has been a no go this summer. I love the sound of this pesto, especially since I’m kind of a pea obsessive 🙂

  27. I need to get me a pool, but first I need to get me a house with a bigger yard that will actually fit a pool. I’m seriously jealous over your summer list you mentioned above. It sounds like a good deal. Love this pesto.

  28. This looks wonderful! Yummy!

  29. What a fun way to make pesto! My husband thinks I’m crazy, but I absolutely love peas! I think I’d love this pesto too 😉

  30. Pestos are the best! I love how versatile they are and how you can use basically any kind of green. This one sounds bomb and so fresh!! Glad you had a fun 4th. Holiday weekends are always the best, aren’t they!? 🙂

  31. Love this version of pesto! I too think it would be fabulous on sandwiches 🙂

  32. Pingback: Fresh Corn Salad - Bless This Mess

  33. Pingback: Weekly Obsessions! - Whisk & Shout

  34. Pingback: Baked Zucchini Fries with Pesto Yogurt Dipping Sauce| Cookin' Canuck

  35. Pingback: 25 Unique Pesto Recipe You Really Need to Make | Boulder Locavore

Leave a Reply to floatingkitchen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *