What makes this recipe for rocket pesto so good is the combination of the salty parmesan cheese, the nuttiness of the pine nuts, and the bold flavor of the rocket (or arugula)!
- What Is Rocket?
- What does Rocket Taste Like?
- What is Pesto?
- What You Need For The Rocket Pesto Recipe
- How To Make The Recipe For Rocket Pesto
- What Can I Substitute In A Recipe For Rocket Pesto?
- Can I Make This Recipe For Rocket Pesto Vegan?
- This Pesto Recipe Would Go Great With…
- Can I Use Seeds Instead of Pine Nuts in Rocket Pesto?
- What Does A Recipe For Rocket Pesto Go With?
- How Long Will Rocket Pesto Stay Fresh?
- Can I Freeze Rocket Pesto?
I would like to preface by saying that I will be using the names rocket and arugula interchangeably throughout this post because I want to, and it makes total sense!
So now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about pesto.
There are many ways to make a pesto and that’s the beauty of it – I have even made the most delicious pesto with artichoke!
I love fresh, easy, and delicious sauces and this recipe for rocket pesto is one of my absolute favorites!
What Is Rocket?
Rucola (Eruca sativa), also known as arugula, rocket, and Italian cress, is a type of green that originated in the Mediterranean and has long been used in Italian and French cuisines before its popularity in other parts of the world such as the United States.
It is part of the Brassica, or Cruciferous, a family that includes brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli.
The look and taste of the rocket is distinctive, making it a choice topping for pizza, bold addition to salads, wilted as a warm side dish, or even made into a pesto, like this recipe!
What does Rocket Taste Like?
Rocket, or arugula, is best described as “peppery” and even bordering on “bitter”, like several of its cruciferous relatives – however the size, or maturity, of the leaves matter. The smaller baby rocket leaves are known for their milder, delicate taste while the larger and mature rocket has a stronger, more spicy character.
I find that sometimes when I buy fresh rocket salad, the flavor can vary quite a bit on the spectrum.
(This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full affiliate disclosure here.)
What is Pesto?
Pesto (or pesto a la Genovese) is a sauce that uses basil as the main ingredient and comes from Genoa, the capital of Liguria, Italy.
This type of traditional pesto is made with basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, salt, and Parmesan cheese and prepared in a mortar and “pounded” (pestare, in Italian) with the pestle, thereby crushing all of the ingredients together.
Today it is common (and thankfully) acceptable to use a blender or food processor, though the texture will be smoother than originally intended.
For my recipe, I opted for the quicker and less labor-intensive method – a food processor!
What You Need For The Rocket Pesto Recipe
To make a really good recipe for rocket pesto you only need five ingredients:
- rocket (or arugula)
- pine nuts
- Parmigiano Reggiano
- fresh garlic
- olive oil
- mortar and pestle or food processor
How To Make The Recipe For Rocket Pesto
Place cleaned rocket into a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients, with the exception of the olive oil. Blitz until the ingredients are uniformly chopped.
Drizzle in the olive oil gradually between blitzing until the rocket pesto is smooth and creamy.
Step 3 :
Season with salt to taste.
What Can I Substitute In A Recipe For Rocket Pesto?
The substitutions you can make in a recipe for rocket pesto are:
Here are a few suggestions:
Can I Make This Recipe For Rocket Pesto Vegan?
Yes, rocket pesto can be made vegan by using plant-based cheese replacements, yeast, or other vegan food product sources:
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese – substitute equal parts for cheese in the pesto recipe. These “cheese” products can contain nuts, nutrtional yeast, seeds, beans, rice flour, plant-based oils, and spices.
- Nutritional Yeast – substitute 10-12 grams in place of the cheese in the pesto recipe. It is a deactivated yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) with flavors described as “nutty” or “cheesy”.
- Aquafaba – substitue equal parts for oil in the recipe. Aquafaba is the liquid that is drained from a can of beans, usually chickpeas. Its function in a recipe is to replace oil or other fats.
This Pesto Recipe Would Go Great With…
Can I Use Seeds Instead of Pine Nuts in Rocket Pesto?
Yes, you can use seeds to replace pine nuts in rocket pesto.
Although pine nuts are technically seeds, they can cause reactions similar to tree nut allergies (like peanuts for example). In this case, seeds would be an ideal alternative.
If you prefer to use seeds in the pesto recipe, here are some that will work well:
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
What Does A Recipe For Rocket Pesto Go With?
Rocket pesto is versatile and can be served with a variety of dishes including meat, chicken, vegetables, pasta dishes, sandwiches, or as a garnish on soups.
How Long Will Rocket Pesto Stay Fresh?
This rocket pesto recipe will last up to a week refrigerated in an air-tight container.
Can I Freeze Rocket Pesto?
Yes, you can freeze this rocket pesto recipe for up to five months when properly stored. To defrost the pesto simply remove the desired portions from the freezer and thaw at room temperature, for about 1-3 hours.
Two methods for freezing the pesto:
- snack-size freezer bags (approx. 60 grams or 1/4 cup )
- ice cube trays
Tasty Recipe For Rocket Pesto
- mortar and pestle /food processor
- 100 grams rocket (arugula lettuce leaves) washed and dried
- 65 grams parmesan cheese (approx. ½ cup)
- 50 grams pine nuts (approx. ⅓ cup)
- 150 ml oilve oil (approx. ¾ cup)
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch sea salt
- Place the rocket, cheese, pine nuts, and garlic into a food processor.If using a mortar and pestle, add all of the ingredients into the mortar except for the oil.
- Processor: Blitz until the ingredients are finely chopped. Drizzle oil into food processor in increments, making a creamy pesto.Mortar: Crush ingredients with the pestle with turning your wrist as you press. Drizzle in the olive oil a little at a time until all of the ingredients are broken down and the pesto is creamy.
- Season to taste with salt.
What is your favorite go-to pesto?
Have you tried rocket pesto?
Leave some tips and tricks in the comments!