Wasabi Arugula Pesto

by Deana Gunn on June 13, 2011 · 10 comments

Have you seen this new item at Trader Joe’s?  Wasabi Arugula.  The captain at my local store pointed it out to me recently and I gave it a try.  This arugula hybrid has all the wonderful peppery flavor of arugula with a little extra kick.  It would be perfect in a roast beef sandwich, or paired with a hearty steak and a zinfandel.   I went home and I knew exactly what I was going to do with the bag.  The idea that had popped into my head?  Wasabi Arugula Pesto. Pesto with a punch.  I couldn’t wait to experiment.

I love making traditional basil pesto – by the end of summer, my vegetable garden is bursting with huge, bushy basil plants (that started life in the spring as a Trader Joe’s $2.99 live basil plant).  I went with my usual recipe of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.   I put a spin on the usual Parmesan and instead shredded some of  TJ’s Toscano Cheese with Black Pepper (this pecorino is a real gem of a cheese at TJ’s – definitely make a note to buy some for your next crackers & cheese spread).  If you’re not crazy about pine nuts or their price (or you are sensitive to the “pine nut bitter aftertaste syndrome” known as Pine Mouth), go with walnuts – they work perfectly here.

The final result was a yummy pesto with lively, fresh flavor – not spicy, but with a touch of mild heat.  For the recipe, click here. Serve the pesto with your favorite spaghetti, linguine, or fettucine.  Stir it in, coating the noodles, and top with a little extra cheese if desired.  Leftover pesto sauce can be kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen (in a bag with the air pressed out, or in an ice cube tray for handy single-serving cubes)


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara June 14, 2011 at 3:42 am

I’ll have to look for this Wasabi Arugula at my local TJ’s. I’m capable of eating a whole bag of arugula with just lemon, salt and pepper. I’m sure this spicier variety will perk my salads right up. As for the pesto, I’ll have to try that too. I usually add red pepper flakes to mine, since I like it spicy.

Deana Gunn June 14, 2011 at 6:57 am

Hi Sara,
You’re a woman after my own heart – I can polish a bag of arugula off, no problem (and this is how I usually do it: http://cooktj.com/arugula-salad-pine-nuts-and-parmesan)
If you try the wasabi arugula, or make pesto with it, I’d love to hear what you thought. I didn’t particularly think “wasabi” when I had it, but it had more heat than usual arugula or pesto.

TJ's Artist Hub June 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Wow! This is a great idea. We just got the Wasabi Arugula in & I would never think of this one.

I think for demo one day we mixed it with our Fat Free Balsamic Vinaigrette and just come Feta and it was pretty great!


Deana Gunn June 15, 2011 at 8:53 pm

It’s fun to see a new product and think about how to use it.
The wasabi arugula is an interesting addition- what did the customers at the demo station think of it?
Speaking of new items…I’m excited about the kale too- another good addition.

Jessica June 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm

What a great way to enjoy pesto! I’m always looking for more pesto variation and this is it for my next one. I am imagining pairing the delicious pesto with seafood. Thank you for the recipe!

Deana Gunn June 24, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Hi Jessica,
Let me know if you try it. Seafood sounds like a great match – I think it would be a great pairing with salmon… or shrimp and pasta. You can also use the regular baby arugula that TJ carries – I love basil pesto, but I also love how fresh and peppery arugula pesto is.

Lori NYC June 30, 2011 at 11:03 am

It’s a toss up for my fave TJ’s gluten-free products between the gluten-free French Rolls and the mango Lassi. All the products I’ve tried are outstanding, but those two are my fave. Thanks TJ!

sonja July 18, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I have made an arugula pesto in the past using the usual ingredients, and then adding avocado and red bell pepper for extra creaminess and zing!

Deana Gunn July 18, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Mmm…those sound like great additions, especially the avocado to make it creamy and rich. I’ll definitely try that – thanks!

Lucy July 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm

OK guys! I tried this Wasabi Arugula but to be honest it’s not anything new? Seriously. Go to the grocery store and buy some radishes with their leaves. Now rather than throwing those radish leaves away taste it eat it. They are very close in flavor to the Wasabi Arugula. Seriously! As a kid growing up eating radishes I came to love the flavor of both the radishes and their green leaves. They are so yummy! So anyway these Wasabi Arugula taste just like the green radish leaves that you get for free with your radishes at the grocery store. Try you’ll know what I mean!

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