arugula & tomato pesto pasta with roasted beets


In my humble opinion, pesto goes on everything. Pasta, potatoes, chicken, etc. This arugula & tomato version is a fantastic twist on the classic basil pesto. There’s a lot of zippy and bold flavors going on here. With peppery arugula, sweet tomatoes, tangy lemon juice and the rest of the classic pesto ingredients, I promise, you will not be disappointed in flavor. The red pepper flakes also add a nice touch of heat. I also won’t judge you if you left the beets out (my husband’s preference).



  • 2-3 medium baby beets (golden or red) *I cheated and used Trader Joe’s steamed and peeled baby beets.
  • 16 oz shaped pasta (like penne)
  • 3.5 oz arugula 
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 large (or 2 small) garlic clove(s), peeled and smashed
  • juice from 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Jump to step 2 if using TJ’s steamed & peeled beets. If roasting your own beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash and dry your beets. Drizzle them lightly with extra virgin olive oil and salt & pepper. Wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes until they can be pierced easily with a fork. Allow them to cool slightly before using paper towels to rub and remove their skins. Skins should peel off very easily.
  2. With either your own roasted beets or the Trader Joe’s steamed and peeled ones, dice the beets into bite-sized cubes and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to its directions. Drain when done.
  4. While the pasta is boiling, you can make your pesto. In either a blender or a large food processor, add your arugula, tomatoes, Parmesan, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Pulse until fairly smooth. Then stream in the olive oil until pureed nicely.
  5. Combine the warm pasta with the pesto and stir until the pasta is well coated. Top with the diced beets and extra freshly grated Parmesan cheese. This is delicious served either warm or cold.

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