Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Arugula Peanut Pesto with Tuna Lettuce Wrap

I present you the humble organic arugula bunch. I found this unassuming leafy green sitting in the produce section of Whole Foods, sandwiched between the leafy lettuces and leafy herbs. I have passed by this green several times only to decide, naa, not this time little guy. Well his time has come, and boy was it delicious!

I googled recipes for arugula. It seems that most people eat it raw in salad, using the leaf to add a subtle peppery flavor to the mix. I also found recipes for Arugula Pesto, in which a combination of arugula and basil are blended with pine nuts and grated parmesan cheese. It sounded interesting, but it was already 6PM and I was still at work. I definitely didn't want to stop at the grocery store for basil and cheese (when I am hungry, I buy the entire store.. and usually something bad and highly processed to eat on the way home).. So I adopted my own version.. Peanut Arugula Pesto!

Here is the recipe:
3 cups arugula leaves
2 Tbsp roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 large garlic cloves
1 tsp yogurt
1/2 tsp olive oil
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Add peanuts and garlic cloves to a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add in Arugula leaves and cilantro to the peanut/garlic mix and pulse till the mixture is well blended and resembles pesto texture. Add wet ingredients (lemon juice, yogurt, olive oil) and salt, give it a quick whir to combine. And Voila, you're done! Its important to note that I guesstimated the quantities above.. but don't be afraid, there are some troubleshooting tips in case the balance doesn't taste right:

too peppery: add lemon and cilantro. Check salt level also.
too salty or lemony: add more leaves! Arugula and cilantro
too mild: add crushed red pepper flakes (I did this)
too wet: add leaves, arugula and cilantro
too dry: add olive oil or yogurt

I made mine on the salty side, because I mixed it with bow tie pasta, which compliments a salty sauce.
To balance out my meal nutritionally, I decided to add a lettuce wrap with tuna salad filling. I happened to have some very ripe tomatoes that I wanted to use, so I made a modified tuna salad.

Here is the recipe:

  • 1 can tuna, well drained and flaked
  • 2 roma tomatoes, halved and microwaved for 2 mins then chopped
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped celery
  • 1 tsp mayo
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard

Mix all of the ingredients together. Mine was a little too wet (I ate it like that anyway) but for my leftover portion for lunch, I squeezed the mixture against the side of the bowl with a broad flat spoon and that removed the excess liquid. For the lettuce part of the wrap, I used red leaf lettuce, but romaine or Boston or any broad leaf lettuce would work. So would iceberg lettuce, but iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value compared to red leaf, romaine, or Boston leaf.

So I got my protein, greens and carbs in this wonderfully delicious meal! I highly recommend the "pesto"-- give it a try and let me know what you think :D Happy Cooking!

1 comment:

  1. who even knew what Arugula was...a spicy plant?

    Tasted good though.