Arugula & Asparagus Pesto

Authored By: 
Kami Miranda

I love spring for many reasons—two of them are asparagus and arugula. When I was a child, my parents would take my brothers and I asparagus hunting, and then we would enjoy the bounty.

Each spring, arugula (or Eruca sativa, also known as rocket, rucola, and rucoli rugula) pops up everywhere in my garden, like a weed. My favorite kind of weed. I anxiously await its arrival to toss onto every meal I make, with a touch of olive oil and lemon.

During the Middle Ages, growing arugula in monasteries was forbidden. According to many classic authors of the time, it was considered an aphrodisiac. 

But Charlemagne of 802 decreed it suitable for growing in gardens, and many people believed that if it was prudently mixed with lettuce (which was deemed the “opposite” of arugula, being calming, perhaps soporific), that it could be suitable for consumption.

Recipes for asparagus are found in the oldest existing recipe book, Apicius, which is believed to have been compiled between 1410 and 1434. And in his book, The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight, Muhammad al Nafzawi celebrated asparagus for its aphrodisiacal powers and ability to counteract fatigue. Of course, none of this is based in science. It just adds to the allure of one of my favorite springtime pestos!

Combining arugula and asparagus with some walnuts and asiago cheese makes for a flavorful meal full of possibilities.

  • 1 bunch asparagus, blanched
  • 2.5 oz arugula
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • juice of ½ lemon

Put all ingredients (except lemon juice) in mini-blender and coarsely chop. Put in mixing bowl, squeeze lemon juice on top, and gently fold in. Set in refrigerator until ready to serve.

The possibilities are endless.

This recipe is also posted on

About the Author: 

Kami is the Mistress of Magic at Gina Cucina and she loves making real food straight from the farm.

She started out as a massage therapist, birth doula and bilingual Montessori toddler teacher. Kami, her husband and their two children have lived between Colorado and Venezuela since 2001. Together they have started and sold a water buffalo dairy, a renewable energy installation company and a citrus orchard and gardens.

When Kami wasn’t homeschooling her children, processing coffee, cacao, yogurt, cheese and other fermented products, she could be found in the gardens or kitchen. She returned to the U.S in 2014; her children started school and she eagerly jumped on board Gina Cucina… a perfect ideological fit.

Gina has been passionate about food since she was a little girl.
Coming from a long line of Italian chefs, she learned to cook at an early age and always knew that was what she was meant to do. At 17 she said goodbye to her family and her small Idaho home town and headed off for culinary school in Italy.

She spent years honing her skills, using all of life’s opportunities to perfect her particular brand.  Early on she created sauces and soups for a small basket business in Los angeles, later, being a small town girl at heart, she married and moved to Carbondale, CO with her husband and twin boys. A second set of twins made their appearance, and she has been cooking for a crowd ever since!

Her husband, Rod Stryker is a renowned Yogi, has trained yoga instructors and run yoga retreats for decades. About 11 years ago, Gina started catering for them.  Gina Cucina is the culmination of cooking for 1000’s of yogis and 100’s of toddlers over the years.  Both sets are the most discerning of customers!

No matter how many places at the table, Gina has rules: use only the freshest, local ingredients… season judiciously (light on the salt!) and let all the natural flavor shine through. Make her a part of your family dinner, and taste the love in every bite!

Enjoy Gina Cucina's Soup of the Month Club - Made with Love!

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