Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts and basil. While pine nuts are tasty, they're pretty expensive. And to be honest, there are other nuts that I prefer—like pecans. And depending on the season, basil can be hard to find for a reasonable price—plus I prefer the peppery bite that arugula adds. If you're bored with traditional pesto, this recipe adds an interesting twist.



  • Parmigiano-Reggiano (½ cup grated)
  • Olive oil (½ cup)
  • Arugula (5 oz)
  • Pecans (½ cup)
  • Salt (1 tsp)
  • Pepper (½ tsp)


  • Pasta (12 oz)


  • Food processor (mine on Amazon)

1.  Toast the nuts

The first step is to toast the pecans:

  1. Preheat an oven to 350°.
  2. Spread the pecans (½ cup) on a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes. (More than ½ cup of pecans are pictured here—I toast more than I need, and then save the rest for breakfast, snacks, and so on.)
  3. Once the pecans have baked, let them cool for 5 minutes.

2.  Blend the pesto

Once you've toasted the nuts and let them cool, blend the ingredients in a food processor:

  1. To a food processor, add:
    •  Toasted pecans (½ cup)
    •  Parmigiano-Reggiano (½ cup grated)
    •  Olive oil (½ cup)
    •  Arugula (5 oz)
    •  Pecans (½ cup)
    •  Salt (1 tsp)
    •  Pepper (½ tsp)
  2. Then blend the pesto.
Note   If you don't have a food processor, you can also make the pesto by finely chopping and then mixing the ingredients. 

3.  Combine with pasta

While you can use this pesto for a variety of other recipes (as sauce on pizza, spread on sandwiches, and so on), it goes well with pasta:

  • Stir about half of the pesto into cooked pasta (12 oz).

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