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Rocket Pesto

My experiments with pesto making began when I was a member of the Temple Bar Food Market, in Dublin, in its early days. I tried many different combinations of herbs and nuts, and this salad rocket recipe became a firm favourite with my customers.

Rocket Pesto

Rocket is rich in vitamins and minerals and it is an antioxidant. This recipe is a perfect way to use up left over rocket and avoid food waste. Give it a try!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Author Denise Dunne


  • 15 g cashew nuts
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped (or to taste)
  • 225 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 150 g salad rocket leaves
  • 50 g grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh lemon juice to taste
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Blitz the nuts in a food processor. Leave them as smooth or as textured as you wish.
  • Add the garlic and the rocket and blitz again. You may need to add a small amount of the olive oil at this stage. Continue to gradually add the olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.
  • Add the cheese and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and blitz again. Taste and add seasoning and extra lemon juice as required.
  • Pour into cooled sterilized jars. When opened, store in the fridge and use within one month.



Pesto is great served simply with pasta and an extra grating of Parmesan cheese. Also good with bruschetta and pizza. Try adding it to everyday dishes such as scrambled eggs, omelettes, potato dishes and salad dressings.  


Experiment by replacing some, or all, of the rocket with other herbs. Any of the soft, green leafy ones such as basil, parsley, chervil or fennel work well.


If you wish to preserve your pesto for a long period of time, it is important that the leaves are totally dry before you add them to the oil. Herbs for preserving are best harvested on a dry, sunny morning. If you must wash them, dry them gently in a clean tea towel or kitchen paper, and air dry for an hour or two, turning regularly, before use.