Arugula (Rucola) - 'Tis The Season! Here Is One Of Our Favorite Ways To Use This Green Goodie!

Native to the Mediterranean region, arugula has been grown as a vegetable since the Roman era. It's delicious, it's versatile, and has many health benefits. Arugula is a healthy, cruciferous leafy green vegetable with a peppery taste that is high in fiber and phytonutrients.

Phytonutrients are plant compounds found in foods that have superpower beneficial properties that speak to our genes. It is also low in sugar, calories, carbohydrates and fat, as well as being high in several vital nutrients such as calcium, potassium, folate, vitamins C, K and A. Research has linked arugula with health benefits such as reducing cancer risk, diabetes, and supporting heart health to name a few.

Last year, for some odd reason, my mom's garden grew an abundant amount of arugula and since it's one of our favorites, we were absolutely thrilled! It is delicious raw and can be used as a healthy complement to many dishes. Some find arugula to be a bit too bitter so we have added walnuts to this recipe, creating a delicious balance between sweet and bitter. You can also add other healthy greens such as mint, basil, or zucchini for a more delicate flavor, or experiment with some of your favorite greens!

In addition to serving this vibrant pesto with pasta or rice, it can also be added to salads, on a freshly baked focaccia, as a complement to a fish or meat dish, or serve as a dip on crudités, for example.

Here is a quick and simple recipe with some of our favorite greens. I hope you enjoy it as much as we have!

Yields: about 1 cup

Prep Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 cups arugula leaves, washed and dried

  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried

  • 2 springs fresh basil, washed and dried

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, shelled

  • 1 garlic clove, cut in half, green shoots removed

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • 1/2 cup pecorino Roman or Parmigiano Reggiano or both

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil, as needed


  1. Wash the arugula, spinach and basil well and place in a food processor. Add walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, cheese, salt and pulse to blend.

  2. With the machine running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the food tube in a slow, steady stream and process until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. You may not need the entire amount of olive oil.

  3. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Additional traditional family recipes can be found in our book: "Pasqualina's Table, Our Italian Family Traditions ...The Gluten-Free Way" available on Amazon:

(Book will soon be available in Italian!)

For additional gluten-free recipes, check out our blog at

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