It’s a new week, which makes it the perfect time to power up with another delicious green! As a blogging partner with Sobeys’ Power Up With Green campaign, I’ve already brought you tasty recipes featuring spinach and kale. Now it’s time to highlight another leafy green from the produce department. It’s peppery and a little bitter, packing a big flavour punch perfect for salads, pesto, pasta and more. Yes, it’s arugula!
Arugula (also known as rocket in some countries) is a great green you should really get to know. Not only is it flavourful and versatile, but it is also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and calcium. You can get it fresh in clamshells with other salad greens, or sometimes as part of salad mixes. Enjoy it raw or as part of cooked dish – your taste buds will thank you.
I decided to get creative with my arugula, and make a homemade pesto. I’ve made basil-free pesto before, but never with such a bold leafy green before. I was excited to see how that peppery bite would taste once it was combined with salty grana padano, fresh garlic, crunchy walnuts, and really good extra virgin olive oil. Walnuts? Grana padano? These are my go to pesto ingredients instead of the more traditional pine nuts and parmesan, as they are more economical, and produce a delicious final product. Trust me – give it a go next time you make pesto.
The pesto? Superb! It had a very fresh, bright flavour with a great peppery bite with a bit of spice from the garlic. Adding lemon juice really adds a nice acidic contrast to the rich olive oil, and accentuates the arugula flavour. Of course, you can’t just eat pesto right off the spoon (well, you can, but only so much). I needed something to show off that pesto. Pasta was the first thing that cane to mind, but since I had just made kale mac & cheese, I figured I needed to make something else. Then I remembered this pesto pizza I had had years ago with leeks and prosciutto, and how it was delicious. The recipe wheel started turning!
Mushrooms, goat cheese, and prosciutto – oh my! This thin crust pizza was all sorts of delicious. The peppery pesto paired perfecting with the salty, buttery prosciutto and creamy goat cheese. Mushrooms are a must for me on pizza, and the sautéed leeks lent a subtle, slightly sweet onion flavour. Definitely a pizza you could serve to a discerning foodie crowd, but super easy to throw together for lunch on a lazy Sunday afternoon (which is what I did).
Pesto. Pizza. Arugula does it all. So give it a shot – mix up your green routine and try out this peppery gem!
Arugula Pesto Pizza
makes one large (12 – 14” diameter) pizza
Pass on the tomato sauce, and spice up your pizza with a peppery arugula pesto. Paired with creamy goat cheese, salty, buttery prosciutto, toothsome mushrooms, and some sauteed leeks, you will have yourself a gourmet pizza to tickle your taste buds. And all that leftover pesto is perfect for any of your other culinary desires – eggs, pasta, paninis, and more!
Arugula Pesto (makes 1 3/4 cups)
- 2 cups packed fresh arugula leaves
- 1/2 cup shredded grana padano cheese
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 3 clove garlic, peeled
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. Combine arugula, cheese, walnuts, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. With the machine on high, gradually pour olive oil into the processor, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Continue to blend until smooth.
Arugula Pesto Pizza
- pizza dough – enough for 1 12-14” pizza (or use a premade pizza shell)
- 1 leek, white and light green parts thinly sliced
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/3 cup arugula pesto (see recipe above)
- 100 g prosciutto, sliced into thin strips
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 100 g goat cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If using a pizza stone, heat inside oven before using.
2. In a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, melt butter, and sauté leeks until soft but not browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. On a floured surface, roll out pizza dough to the size of your pizza stone. Remove pizza stone from oven, and place pizza dough on the stone.
4. Evenly spread the pesto over the pizza dough, then layer the mushrooms, prosciutto, and leeks over top. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese.
5. Place pizza into oven, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until crust is crispy and golden, and mushrooms have cooked. Slice, and enjoy!
Feeling inspired to get a little more green into your life? I hope so, because Sobeys is asking Canadians to share how better food choices have inspired them to live a better life for the chance to win a cooking lesson with Jamie Oliver in London, England. Until March 26, Canadians who post a photo or video and a brief description showing how better food choices have helped them eat better, feel better and do better along with the hashtag #BetterFoodForAll on Twitter or Instagram will be entered into the contest. How cool would that be, just for adding a little green into your next meal? Find out more details on their website, and get out there and share the power of greens!
Disclaimer – The author has received consideration from Sobeys or Sobeys’ media partners in exchange for this content. Sobeys has not reviewed these claims and is not responsible for the content. All opinions are the author’s own.