Pesto is so quick to make and utterly delicious. This simple rocket walnut pesto is exactly that! I had a catering gig the other day and had plenty rocket left over so figured it was time to re-create some recipes and snap some pics. The biggest issue being a food blogger (not a lover of calling myself that btw!) is remembering to snap pics when I make food or when you want to snap pics having the right lighting. Having all this extra rocket on hand helped me finish a few recipes I have been meaning to do.
Rocket or Arugula
The age old question. Who spells thing correctly and what is the actual name for certain food items. Eggplant & aubergine, zucchini & courgette, peppers & capsicums, tomatoes & tomatoes. Ok, well that last one is a little hard to read but you know what I'm talking about. Having grown up in Ireland, lived in NYC and now Australia trying to come to terms with spelling and pronunciation of words has been tricky. At first I was all about "keeping true to myself" and refused to spell things the American way but I'm not gonna lie lately I'm not 100% sure I know which way is the right way anymore!!
It's really quite simple. Herbs, a toasted nut of some form - in this case walnut, good quality olive oil, acidity in the form of lemon, garlic and parmesan. Pop it all in a blender and off you go! Different combinations like my rocket walnut pesto to sundried tomato & pinenuts, coriander & pumpkin seed, red pepper & almond. The beauty is just to experiment - everything in the kitchen!
When working with fresh herbs like basil, rocket, mint, coriander etc. they can turn brown. This is called oxidation. It's still good to eat but truthfully it doesn't look great. Luckily in my home we tend not to have that issue as it doesn't last long in our home. There is however a handy tip to get around this. Blanching the herbs before hand cuts down on the oxidation and leaves you with a brighter greener pesto. Truthfully when I am making it for us to eat at home I don't bother with this step but if it's for a special occasion or work purposes then blanch away! Think herb oils, pea soup etc. All these can turn brown quickly so now you have the "secret" behind keeping it green.
It's often deemed a little old school. Rightly so as at one stage every bloody restaurant vegetarian dish was pasta pesto with some sundried tomatoes and parmesan cheese! Way to think out the box their chef!! Truthfully, I'm not one to talk as I don't cook a lot of vegetarian food so.......... Aside from in pasta which to be honest is actually delicious and the beauty of it is it can be eaten hot or cold.
- use it on pizza or flatbread as a base or even finish your pizza with a drizzle
- sexy up a sandwich
- make a bruschetta
- marinate some meat
- finish some grilled veg with it
- stir it into some yoghurt or smooth ricotta as a sauce
- pop it in a bagel with some smoked salmon (or lox if you are in America!)
It really is super versatile. BIZARRELY my toddler also demolished a few tablespoons of it so that's a win for getting her to eat her greens! Check out these other recipes that are toddler friendly too.
Rocket (Arugula) Health Benefits
Peppery to taste rocket is a go to leaf for many salads and sandwiches. It's not just there to bulk up salads though, it contains many health benefits too!
- helps in eye health
- contains high amounts of vitamin K
- protects against cancer
- high levels of nitrates - similar to those of broccoli, kale & brussels sprouts
- 75 g rocket
- 30 g parmesan cheese grated
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 30 g walnuts
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 80 ml olive oil
- Toast walnut lightly in a frying pan on low/medium heat. Keep a close eye on them as they can burn easily
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend into a paste.
- food processor
- frying pan
- measuring utensils
- sharp knife
- chopping board
- best to add half of the oil at the beginning and then add more as you blend until you get the consistency you prefer
- salt & pepper are omitted due to the saltiness of parmesan and the spice of rocket but taste and adjust to your liking
- pesto will keep for up to 5 days at home - it does tend to turn a little brown on top due to oxidation. see article above!