Posted by: Rachel | June 8, 2019

tastes like summer!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while now, or if you know me (or both) you know I like easy, unfussy cooking – and sometimes the kind that requires no actual cooking at all. Especially in Texas in the summer, which usually lasts from May until October.

It isn’t that I’m lazy, exactly (well, maybe that’s part of it); I just can’t bear to turn on the oven or stove if I don’t have to. It is just too darn *hot*.

So, for me, June (and much of the rest of the hot season) is time for pesto.

Now I am assuming that you have a food processor, blender, or some other easy way of chopping herbs and vegetables. I know my grandmother didn’t, yet she managed a chopped chicken liver that was heavenly, but that’s another story for another day. In any event, I have my mother’s old (very old) food processor. The motor part must weigh a good 10 pounds, but it works like a champ. I don’t use it often, but for pesto I will happily haul it out and dust it off.

My garden has had a rough start. Too much rain, hail this week, a crazy year so currently my arugula looks like this:

baby arugula

That’s why I hit my grocery salad bar and bought maybe 4 or 5 good handfuls that look like this:

salad bar arugula

Isn’t it pretty? I also invested in a bunch each of fresh basil and mint. Oh, and a few cloves of roasted garlic, also from the salad bar. I like it much better than raw fresh garlic for this purpose. It is more mellow, almost sweet, and soft so it melds nicely. Mmmmm…

The only tricky thing about making pesto in a food processor (other than washing the blades when you’re done – do be careful!) is not over-processing it. After all, we’re not talking paste-o here! So, pulse the greens, add the garlic and nuts, pulse again, add the cheese; you can make it as smooth or rough as you like. I like some texture, so I start like this:

And finish like this:

finished pesto

Don’t get mad, but I can’t really give specific amounts of anything in this “recipe”. I never make it exactly the same twice. I can only give you rough ideas on percentages here – do as you like!

Salad Bar Pesto

5 good handfuls of arugula
1 tbsp (or more) of olive oil
5 or 6 branches each of fresh basil and mint, leaves only
5 or 6 cloves of roasted garlic (or maybe 2 cloves fresh)
1/2 to 3/4 cup walnut pieces
about 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano or pecorino romano

Note, there is no salt as I find the cheese makes it salty enough for me.

Rough chop the arugula with the olive oil. Add the herbs and pulse again. Add the garlic and nuts, pulse. Add a bit more olive oil if it seems too stiff. Add the cheese and pulse once more. Store covered in the fridge, obviously. This is dandy on pasta, but its also fine with cooked shrimp, chicken, or just on crackers. Yup, tastes like summer to me! Stay cool and bon appetit!



  1. FYI, Central Mkt N has arugula in bulk, cheaper then salad bar should you leave S Austin. We are currently in England where arugula is called Rocket!

    • In French it is “roquette”. Not sure how that turned into “arugula” but I love it no matter what it is called! 😎

  2. Glad to know you’re still doing well. I have been inHospice since May 1st. I turned around tho and am doing great with Asian Herbs, Acupuncture and lymphatic massage. Take care!!


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