Pasta with arugula and chive pesto

By Wendy Andresen | Jun 05, 2019
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

"Pesto" is a generic term for anything made by pounding or crushing, which was traditionally done in a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Nowadays we rely on our handy kitchen food processor to achieve the same results. Most types of pesto are based on a combination of herbs, garlic, salt, olive oil and cheese. Because arugula is now available at the farmers’ market and the chives are growing like weeds, I thought this would be a good time to try this version and to repeat my favorite recipe for nondairy Parmesan. Basil season is a long way off, so this pesto is a tasty stand-in for traditional pesto alla genovese.


1 pound dry pasta, your favorite

4 cups arugula

1 cup snipped chives

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup pine nuts (pignolis), toasted (be careful not to burn them!)

1 cup nondairy Parmesan cheese (recipe below)

1/2 to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. lemon zest

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, your very best


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. While water is coming to a boil and pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto:

2. In a food processor, briefly pulse together the arugula, chives, garlic, pignolis, Parmesan, pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt.

3. With the processor on its lower speed, add the olive oil in a slow stream until it’s fully incorporated.

4. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it, reserving a cup of the cooking water.

5. Place the pasta in a large bowl and add the pesto. Toss gently, adding some of the reserved cooking water to thin the pesto if necessary.

6. Garnish with more toasted pignolis and Parmesan.

Nondairy grated Parmesan

2 cups almond flour

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. mellow white miso paste

1 1/2 tsp. lactic acid powder (order online)

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. This makes a huge batch, so you can refrigerate some in a pretty jar that looks nice on your table and store the rest in the freezer indefinitely.

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