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Whole Wheat Rotini with Meyer Lemon and Arugula Pesto

by Aggies Kitchen on February 27, 2013

Meyer Lemon and Arugula Pesto recipe2

I’m a sucker for anything lemony. Bonus if it’s Meyer lemony. This pasta dish tastes so fresh and springy, I pretty much insist you make it if you are having any kind of spring fever these days (apparently a lot of you are according to all of your comments on my Brookside Chocolate giveaway – last day to enter tomorrow btw).

Yes, I have spring fever. Although I live in Florida and have barely experienced a “real” winter this year (best winter ever as far as I’m concerned), I still find myself craving spring. For me, spring isn’t just about the temperature or the weather, though I would probably not be feeling that way if I was getting snow piled on me right now like some of you (if you’re over it, I am so sorry!!). My spring fever hits when I’m ready to get my hands dirty planting up my herbs and veggies. I love seeing and smelling everything green, I love pops of color from budding flowers, and I love hearing birds chirping away (I heard some this morning as I was waking up and that’s when I realized I’ve been missing them!). I’m ready for the pool and ocean water to warm up for some swimming. Some new flip flops and a pretty pedicure are on my radar too. Spring is most definitely my favorite time of year. And for us Floridians, we know “spring” tends to be short lived before summer temps creep in around April…so for the next month, I’ll be savoring every outdoor moment.

Meyer Lemon, Arugula and Walnut Pesto | Aggie's Kitchen

Since I have no basil planted yet, I found arugula to be a great substitution in this pesto sauce. It adds a peppery kick to the nuttiness of the walnuts, brightened up by the fresh taste of Meyer lemons. Enjoy your pasta warm off the stove top or chilled as a pasta salad.

Whole Wheat Rotini with Meyer Lemon, Arugula and Walnut Pesto


  • 13 oz whole wheat rotini pasta (or your favorite pasta)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Meyer Lemon, Arugula and Walnut Pesto (see below)
  • chopped walnuts, for serving
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
  • For the pesto sauce:
  • 2 cups arugula, rinsed and dried well
  • 1 meyer lemon, juiced
  • zest from 1 meyer lemon
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/3-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • big pinch salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Prepare your pesto sauce by adding arugula, meyer lemon juice, zest, garlic, and parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse several times. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle in olive oil a little at a time while continuing to process sauce until smooth. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust if necessary. Set aside.
  2. Cook your pasta according to directions. Drain pasta and add back in pot (or in serving bowl). Drizzle with olive oil, then add desired amount of pesto to warm pasta and toss well until fully coated.
  3. Serve pasta with chopped walnuts and additional grated Parmesan cheese.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles February 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Another beauty, Aggie! I’m all over lemons right now…there’s a lemon poppy seed loaf in the oven as I type. I love the sound of arugula pesto – peppery delicious!!


bellini February 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm

No mater where we are living we are craving everything Spring


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar February 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Mmm this sounds so tasty!!


Shanna@ pineapple and coconut February 27, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I love arugula and walnuts in pesto and you know I love meyer lemons! This looks amazing – another awesome recipe!!


Cassie | Bake Your Day February 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I am a fool for lemon-y things too and I would love a bowl of this any day. Sounds perfect, Aggie!


Paula - bell'alimento February 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Pass the pesto pasta girl! Please of course ; )


Caroline @ chocolate & carrots February 27, 2013 at 2:29 pm

What a great weeknight meal idea! :D


Kiran @ February 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Need a plate of this sunshine-y goodness, now! It chilly in Los Angeles :D Can’t wait to get back to Orlando.


Erica February 27, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I want to dive in! I agree- lemon rocks and lemon in pasta is SO good. Yayy for spring


Erika @ The Hopeless Housewife February 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm

We have lemons in our backyard, I have to try this!


JulieD February 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Love, love, love, Aggie!! And you know me and meyer lemons! Sigh!


Margot C February 28, 2013 at 1:46 am

I have tons of arugula; growing everywhere like (well) weeds. I leave it in one bed because I LOVE it. I could make this tomorrow because I just got Meyer lemons at Trader Joes.


Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts February 28, 2013 at 6:48 am

I hear you on the SMELL of spring. When I lived in Hawaii I really missed that green smell. Or maybe it was just there all the time and my nose got used to it? It was nice to smell spring again when we moved to the mainland.
I’ve been making arugula/asiago pesto ever since my CSA farmer sold me a copy of Farmer John’s Real Dirt on Vegetables cookbook, but I’ve never tried arugula/lemon pesto. I’m intrigued! Adding Meyer lemons to my Trader Joes list.


Jamie @ Thrifty Veggie Mama February 28, 2013 at 8:10 am

I love all things lemon too. I am definitely ready for spring. We had another snow storm a couple days ago and it is snowing again today but I can still feel spring coming!


Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies February 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

I love Meyer lemons, but since I don’t bake much, I’m always on the lookout for savory dishes I can use them in. Such a great idea!


claire @ the realistic nutritionist February 28, 2013 at 11:38 am

I love this. I love lemons and pesto and pasta!


Rabbit Creek February 28, 2013 at 3:27 pm

OH my lord, that looks and sounds sooo good! I know what’s for dinner now.


Bree {Skinny Mommy} March 1, 2013 at 10:48 am

I bet this tastes so bright and fresh-yum!


Sheila March 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Mmm this looks so good! You don’t know what Spring Fever is girlfrand! xoxoxo But I get it, I’ll cut you some slack. Cant wait to grow basil either.


Kristin @ Dizzy Busy and Hungry! March 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

This totally has me in the mood for spring. Love arugula! It is perfect for pesto!


Elizabeth March 2, 2013 at 8:49 am

We are agreed on Meyer lemony flavor being the best thing ever. And I was just eyeing some aging arugula in my fridge and thinking it might be time to make some pesto! Spring still seems pretty distant up here, and like you, I cannot wait to get outside and get my fingers into some dirt!


Margie Hinsdale March 3, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Were there supposed to be walnuts in the pesto or do you just put them on top of the pasta? Thanks!


Terri/LoveandConfections March 3, 2013 at 10:23 pm

I love pesto, especially on pasta and pizza. I will definitely have to try it with arugula.


katie March 4, 2013 at 10:57 am

I have a bag of Meyer Lemons sitting on my counter right now… I know what I’m doing with them! yum!


Melanie @ Nutritious Eats March 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I LOVE pesto. Never made it with arugula though but great sub because basil can be pricey and I never seem to grow quite enough for big pesto batches.


Kim | At Home With Kim March 7, 2013 at 9:14 am

I was just putting together a Pea Pod order and Meyer Lemons popped up…. this sounds like a great use for them! I have never made homemade pesto and have always wanted to…. Perfect lunch coming up!


kelley March 11, 2013 at 3:36 pm

We’re still getting hit with the snow so the thought of your balmy Florida winters might invoke just a bit of jealousy here. I’m dreaming of planting my garden as well. Greens grow so well here that arugula is always on my list. This pesto sounds amazing. I agree, bonus for meyer lemons! Hope you’re well! xoxo


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