Artichoke Lemon Pesto

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This Artichoke Lemon Pesto is made quickly and easily in the food processor. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a simple pasta dish or on bruschetta!

Making artichoke lemon pesto in a food processor

This pesto just happens to use up some of the luscious Meyer lemons and nubs of hard Italian cheese that I have lying around.

Making this pesto yourself with high quality cheese and olive oil really elevates a simple thing to something special. Trader Joe’s sells a version of this but I’ve always found it too bland. Commercial pestos just aren’t worth the money, you can always do a better job at home.

Roasting the garlic mellows out its bite and allows you to use more than you would otherwise. Taste it as you go and you’ll get the flavor just the way you like it.

If you’ve heeded my advice and bought yourself a small food processor, you’ll find this pesto is quick and easy. The small machines are really necessary whenever you are doing salsas or pestos where the amounts are too small for a regular sized processor to chop evenly…most of it ends up against the side of the big bowls.

Any leftover pesto is great spread on bruschetta or served with cheese and crackers.

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay

Making artichoke lemon pesto in a food processor
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3.22 from 14 votes

Artichoke Lemon Pesto

Course condiment, Sauce
Cuisine American
Author Sue Moran


  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic skin on
  • a handful of baby arugula
  • a 12 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts drained
  • juice of 1or 2 lemons
  • 1 cup finely grated hard Italian cheese
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts toasted
  • salt and pepper
  • at least 1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil


For the pesto

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Wrap the garlic cloves loosely in foil and roast for about 20 minutes in the oven.
  • Carefully squeeze out the pulp and put into a small food processor.
  • Add in the arugula and pulse a few times to reduce the bulk of the arugula.
  • Add in the artichoke hearts, the juice of one lemon, cheese, and nuts, pulsing in between if necessary to reduce the bulk and fit everything in to the bowl.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil while the machine is running.  It will take quite a lot to get a nice loose pesto consistency.  At least 1/2 cup, probably more.
  • Taste and add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if necessary.
  • Store in a clean jar and refrigerate until needed.  You can also freeze it, just put it in an airtight plastic container.

To serve with pasta

  • Cook your pasta, drain and return to the pan.  Reserve a cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Toss it with a couple of big handfulls of the baby arugula.  The arugula will wilt from the heat of the pasta.
  • Add in some more grated cheese while tossing.
  • Spoon dollops of pesto onto the pasta and toss again.  Add in some of the cooking liquid to help distribute the pesto and make a light sauce.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with extra cheese.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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  • Reply
    August 20, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    I’m going to make my first batch tomorrow, wish me luck ? I have to use store bought lemons right now , but as soon as my Myers lemons are ripe, I plan on doing it again. Love artichokes and artichoke hearts. I know is is going to be amazing,

    • Reply
      August 20, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      I’ve been dreaming about artichokes lately, I’ve got some lemony artichoke cakes coming up soon, yum!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    Your artichoke pesto recipe is fabulously inventive. I hate to wait to get your recipe for the Chimichurri. Hope you’ll send it sooner rather than later.
    With great anticipation and much thanks for sharing,
    Bridget S. Bennett

  • Reply
    An American In Sicily
    May 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Recipe looks fabulous! I love artichokes and here in Sicily we have so much of them!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I hope you are having the best time ever – and this is one sweet recipe you left us with – I do love the gentle tangs of an artichoke pesto – nice change from the basil. I could just spoon-feed myself this and not share.

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    January 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    First of all, have a wonderful time on the West coast! Second, what an interesting pesto … I always think of the traditional basil and walnut or pinenut pesto, but there are SO many different kinds!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    This sounds trull amazing!!! It reminds me so much of Spring all its promise!!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    good luck on your trip! I hope you have such a nice time enjoyin delicious food 🙂

  • Reply
    Nessa Robins
    January 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    I love pestos and this sounds like a delicious recipe for one I never tried before. Have a great time in L.A. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kitchen Belleicious
    January 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Hands down my favorite pesto recipe ever. I haven;t even tried it but I know I am going to LOVE it! making this tonight

  • Reply
    Liza in Ann Arbor
    January 16, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I’m love pesto in any way, shape or form. Thanks for the idea to use artichokes-perfect for when basil is not in season. And I totally agree about the commercial pestos. Why bother?

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    This sounds delicious, Sue. I love your photography so much! I hope you have a WONDERFUL week. Enjoy every minute of your trip!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    what a unique pesto! great recipe, sue, and hope you’re having a blast in la!

  • Reply
    Marina {Yummy Mummy)
    January 16, 2012 at 6:32 am

    I love artichoke lemon pesto! Those lemons are gorgeous. And I’m drooling over your last post with the just out of the oven chocolate chips…

  • Reply
    January 16, 2012 at 6:20 am

    What a great recipe! Another must from Sue’s kitchen!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    This pesto sounds delicious. Love the asiago block!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I really need to buy one because I’m always stumped when it comes to making things like this.

    I am so jealous that you are going to LA for a week! Have a great time, you lucky dog!

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Tabitha you already sprung for the KitchenAid mixer, and these little Cuisinarts are really inexpensive—you need one!

  • Reply
    January 15, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Oh I love the looks of this. I made something similar a long time ago and smeared it on bread. I agree that you can always do a better pesto at home. I’m saving this one. Thanks Sue. Hope you have a great trip in some warmer weather 🙂

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    have a fab trip!!! this pesto sounds divine! 🙂 x

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    January 15, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Ohhh yum! I love all those flavors but have a hard time finding Meyer Lemons. Hope you have a terrific trip – you will be missed! Good luck on the bread – I think making bread is one of the most satisfying adventures in the kitchen. Don’t get a sunburn!

  • Reply
    once in a blue moon
    January 14, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    sounds and looks, of course, delish, happy travels to you~

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    That picture of the Meyer Lemons is so sunny and gorgeous. I must try this pesto, it sounds divine! Have a blast in Los Angeles…can’t wait to hear about your bread baking adventure 😀

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    This pesto sound glorious! My mind is currently scurrying through ideas to hold this little concoction. I WILL be making this. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I love this provencal theme of flavors that you’ve been cooking lately… all looks delicious.

    • Reply
      Sue/the view from great island
      January 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks Amy, I’ve noticed that I naturally lean towards Mediterranean food and I’m hoping to explore it more deeply this year. Doing the blog has helped me realize this, which is good because I sometimes get overwhelmed with the ‘so much food to try, so little time’ feeling.

  • Reply
    January 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This looks and sounds delicious and love how you suggest to serve it…Love arugula and this together would be wonderful. I do not have a mini food processor, but I know I need one for this exact thing! Have a great time in LA!

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