Thursday, June 28, 2012

Recipe for Basil, Arugula, Scallion, and Lemon Pesto Sauce for Grilled Fish, Chicken, Meat or Vegetables

Basil, Arugula, Scallions, and Lemon Pesto Sauce for Grilled Fish, Chicken, or Vegetables
This pesto sauce with basil, arugula, scallions, and lemon is fantastic with grilled fish, chicken, or vegetables.

When I shared the recipe for Ultra Easy Avocado Sauce, I mentioned how I'm a sauce person.  I love the way an easy sauce can dress up simple grilled fish, chicken, meat, or vegetables for quick summer meal.  The sauce shown here on grilled salmon is a kicked-up version of my beloved Basil Pesto with Lemon, with arugula, scallions, walnuts, and a touch of mayo turning it into a flavor-filled creamy sauce for just about anything you'd like to eat it on.  When I had leftovers of this in my fridge, I ate it on almost everything I cooked until it was gone, and if you like these flavors I'm guessing this might become one of your favorite summer sauces.

Start with a packed cup of basil leaves.  (I wash them in the salad spinner.)

You'll also need a packed cup of arugula leaves.

I used walnuts instead of  the pine nuts I usually use for pesto, but you could use any type of nuts you like.  It also has scallions (green onions) and a large cloves of garlic (or two.)

Pulse the basil, arugula, walnuts, scallions, and garlic until it's finely chopped.

Then add the olive oil, lemon juice, and mayo and blend until you have a sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

This sauce will dress up any kind of grilled fish, chicken, meat, or vegetables, and I also liked it as a spread for sandwiches and as a sauce over Greek Frittata.  I bet you can think of a lot more ideas for using it!

Basil, Arugula, Scallion, and Lemon Pesto Sauce for Grilled Fish, Chicken, Meat, or Vegetables
(Makes about 2 cups of sauce; recipe created by Kalyn.)

1 cup (packed) basil leaves
1 cup (packed) baby arugula leaves
1/2 cup sliced scallions (green onions)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or use any nuts you'd like)
1-2 large cloves garlic
2 T olive oil
2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 T mayo or light mayo
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Wash basil and arugula if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels.  Chop walnuts, scallions, and garlic.  In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the basil, arugula, scallions, walnuts, and garlic until they are finely chopped.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and mayo and process until the sauce is all blended.  Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve.

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week (mine didn't last longer than that!)

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Ten Things I'd Love to Eat with This Sauce:
Marinated Flank Steak
Grilled Flat Iron Steak
Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken
Chicken Souvlaki
Grilled Pork Chops with Lemon, Garlic, and Sage
Herb Encrusted Grilled Salmon
Grilled Fish with Garlic, Basil, and Lemon - for Halibut, Tilapia, or Mahi-Mahi
Grilled Spicy Tuna
Grilled Zucchini
Spicy Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper, Parsley, and Mint

South Beach Suggestions:
It would be best to use light mayo if making this for the  South Beach Diet, and it's calorie dense so use portion control.  As long as you're only eating a few tablespoons of it at a time, this would be a great sauce for grilled fish, chicken, or vegetables for any phase of the diet.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Ideas for Summer Sauces:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Ultra Easy Avocado Sauce or Dip
Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Aioli Sauce
Basil Chimichurri Sauce from Sarah's Cucina Bella
Lemon Basil Almond Pesto from The Taste Space
Roasted Vegetables with Creamy Meyer Lemon Dipping Sauce from The Perfect Pantry
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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  1. What a beautiful green sauce! It sounds like a perfect match with simple seared fish, a bowl of pasta and vegetables, or even some grilled halloumi--love it!

  2. Thanks Eileen. I just put it on everything!

  3. Kalyn, this looks great! Could you suggest a substitute for the mayo (I'd like to try this over grilled tofu and portobellos for vegan friends). Thanks!

  4. I really don't have much experience with vegan mayo substitutes, but I imagine that would work just fine.

  5. If that gorgeous arugula is from your garden, I'm going to be extremely jealous!

  6. No Lydia, arugula goes to seed so quickly here that I've kind of given up on it. It's just from the store.

  7. 1. Can you freeze the pesto.

    2. I simply cut off the top of the arugula when it sprouts and harvest from my "arugula hedge" thru-out the summer.

  8. I am a HUGE fan of all things pesto in the summer and I know I'd love this on everything also! I'm thinking of using it as a sauce for an ITalian-esque burrito..hmm.

  9. Lisa, I have not tried freezing it. The only thing I'm not sure about is the mayonnaise, but I'm guessing it would freeze. Mine was gone so quickly I didn't even think of freezing it!

    Joanne, I think it would be great as a spread to liven up a burrito!

  10. I could not have gotten this at a better time! This week I just received way too much basil arugula and scallions from my CSA!

  11. I would imagine avocado could substitute for the mayo. Or maybe try olive oil, like in a standard pesto recipe. I think the nuts and greens just need a binder/emulsifier.

  12. Valerie Anne, so glad! Hope you enjoy.

  13. I bet this would make a great marinade for shrimp! I can't wait to give it a go!


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