Arugula Pesto Salad

By Alexandra Caspero on June 9, 2014

Arugula Salad With Couscous And Chickpeas (Vegan &Amp; Gluten Free)Arugula Salad With Couscous And Chickpeas (Vegan &Amp; Gluten Free)Arugula Salad With Couscous And Chickpeas (Vegan &Amp; Gluten Free)Arugula Salad With Couscous And Chickpeas (Vegan &Amp; Gluten Free)

This salad is all about summer. Actually, the last few recipes I’ve posted are all about summer. The type of food I am craving this time of year: light, produce heavy, slightly spicy, that comes together without having to turn on the oven. If I can pack it for a picnic dinner, even better.

This arugula pesto salad totally fits the bill. If you haven’t have arugula pesto before, you’re in for a treat! Slightly peppery than it’s basil counterpart, arugula pesto adds the perfect bite to this grain and bean salad. I used walnuts since pine nuts are too expensive to be used in anything but special foods. I am all about spending $4 on a heirloom tomato but no way will I puree a few dollars worth of pine nuts into everyday pesto. Christmas pesto? Yes. A weeknight in June pesto? No.
If you have leftovers, try it drizzled over grilled tofu, hot pasta or combined with a bit of mayo for a delicious sandwich spread.

If lentils are my favorite legume, chickpeas are a very close second.
I eat them in just about everything and they add protein, fiber, and satiation to this grain salad. Toss in some diced tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes like these) and your done! Who says dinner has to be complicated?
Knife to table in less than 30 minutes.

PS. I know this is a weeknight dinner recipe but this salad, a bottle glass of Rosé and al fresco dining? I wish it was summer all year long.

PSS. After a long internal debate with myself, I’ve decided to fully take off the rest of this week and next. We are currently traveling around Europe for our honeymoon (!) and it was a very liberating feeling knowing I didn’t have to plan and schedule so many blog posts in our absence. I’ll be back on the 23rd for our regularly scheduled MWF posts on nutrition, happy weight thoughts and of course healthy, in-season recipes. Until then! xo.

If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Arugula Salad With Couscous And Chickpeas (Vegan &Amp; Gluten Free)

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Arugula Salad With Couscous And Chickpeas (Vegan &Amp; Gluten Free)

Arugula Pesto Salad

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: salad


Simple grain salad featuring israeli couscous, arugula-walnut pesto, chickpeas & cherry tomatoes

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: salad
  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: salad


  • 6 cups arugula, plus more for garnish
  • 1 1/2 cups israeli couscous
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the couscous, and stir until golden and toasted, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add 2 1/2 cups boiling water to the couscous, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 minutes.
  4. Drain and rinse the couscous, set aside to cool.
  5. In a food processor, add the arugula, garlic cloves and walnuts. Pulse to combine.
  6. With the blade running, drizzle in the olive oil and lemon juice until well combined. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Combine the cooked and cooled Israeli couscous, halved cherry tomatoes, chickpeas and arugula-pesto. Gently toss to combine.
  8. Serve, garnish with arugula leaves.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Juli Lundell Tarsney
      June 13, 2016 AT 10:31 am

      Tried this a few days ago – delicious! The flavor was most intense on day 1 … I just tried heating slightly the last bit of leftovers, and that did seem to bring out the flavor. It may also help to refresh w/a a bit more pesto after it’s been in the fridge? In any event, I’ll be making this again; Israeli couscous and arugula are a great combination …

      1. Alex @ DelishKnowledge
        June 13, 2016 AT 2:42 pm

        Thanks for the kind words, glad you enjoyed it! Good idea to refresh with a bit more pesto after it’s been in the fridge!

    2. Samantha
      June 26, 2014 AT 2:43 pm

      I love arugula and couscous! This looks yummy! I’m definitely going to have to try it. Glad I found your website!

      1. DK
        June 26, 2014 AT 2:54 pm

        Thanks Samantha!

    3. Allison
      June 13, 2014 AT 8:14 am

      Pesto is so good! I love making it with all of the fresh summer herbs… but I totally make it all year-long. It’s just so versatile and bright. I wouldn’t mind a glass of rose with this meal one bit. Sounds like the perfect summertime meal! Enjoy your wonderful honeymoon!!!!

    4. Dietitian Jess
      June 11, 2014 AT 5:49 am

      Hope you are enjoying your honeymoon, I leave for mine tomorrow, also traveling in Europe and I think I’m going to take a leaf out of your book and not worry about blog posts! Safe and awesome travels!

    5. jill conyers
      June 11, 2014 AT 2:10 am

      Arugula is one of my favorite greens! The flavor is so distinct and works well with so many different ingredients.

    6. Dana P
      June 9, 2014 AT 12:01 pm

      Walnuts in pesto – love it! I can never stomach the cost of pine nuts. Hooray for your honeymoon – enjoy Europe!! 🙂