My first Pesto recipe

I love pesto. Especially the ones I didn’t make (coz I never tried making it). I love the pasta from Spinneys that they sell by the gram with pesto sauce. I have been planning for quite some time now to make my own pesto and even bought a basil plant a few weeks ago so I can grow more basil. But the plant died no matter how much love I showered it. I guess it didnt want me as much as i wanted it…

Been searching high and low for alternative ingredients that would also cut costs. Found out that Arugula (my favorite leafy greens!) can also be used! And instead of the uber expensive pine nuts, I opted to use walnuts. Also substituted cheddar cheese for the parmesan, and now I have UAE friendly pesto that you can make in your own UAE based kitchen! (had to emphasize UAE here… lol)

arugula pesto finished product
The finished product

Arugula pesto recipe (as adapted from


  • 2 cups of packed arugula leaves, stems removed (I used 2 bunches which costs AED 0.95/each around here)
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts (roasted in the microwave for 2 minutes)
  • 1 cup grated BEGA cheddar cheese (or more, adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled (less if you want it to be less tangy. Brown over medium high heat)
  • 1/2 garlic clove peeled and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (i used low sodium salt)

Combine all ingredients except for the parmesan cheese and the olive oil in a food processor. I did not have one, but I used a blender. Pulse while adding the olive oil bit by bit. I know it will be easier with a food processor, and I had to stop in intervals to make sure everything is being blended. Once everything is smooth, I put all ingredients in a bowl and added my cheese.

You have to adjust according to your taste. Mine was really garlicky, which is not what most people like, but which i really like. I also ended up adding more cheese in the end.

Enjoy your pesto!

pesto on white bread
Tried mine with white bread… yumminess!

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