Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula

Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula

As a kid, I preferred blue to pink. This fared quite nicely for my parents, who loved to dress me in my brother’s hand-me-downs.

But these days, my heart melts for magenta — especially when we’re talking food. And one small beet makes it easy to bring that color to life


Here, grated beets sweep in to keep pesto from turning that ugly shade of green that normally happens when basil oxidizes. It adds a slight earthiness to the pesto, but is far from the prominent flavor.

Pair with arugula for an added pop of color and goat cheese for a delightful creamy finish.

Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula

Beet Pesto Pasta with Goat Cheese Over Arugula


  • -2 medium cloves garlic
  • -1 1/3 packed cup of basil
  • -1 medium beet, grated
  • -1/3 cup toasted almonds
  • -1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • -1 tsp. salt, plus to taste
  • -1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • -2 Tbsp. reserved pasta water, optional
  • -Arugula (enough for 1 cup per person)
  • -4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • -Freshly ground pepper
  • -1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat spaghetti)


  1. Pulse garlic cloves in a food processor.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, slowly drizzling in the olive oil and adding the pasta water, if needed/desired to thin. Continue to pulse until smooth.
  3. Toss with pasta. Place 1 cup of arugula on each plate/bowl. Spoon pasta on top. Divide goat cheese, crumbling on top. Top with fresh ground pepper. Serve.


The pesto freezes quite well. If serving only a small crowd, feel free to freeze halve the pesto for later and reduce the amount of pasta you cook.

You also may have a little extra pesto sauce than needed for the pasta, which you can store in the freezer, or in the fridge to spread on sandwiches/ dip broccoli in, etc.

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  • Reply
    dishing up the dirt
    March 12, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Wow!!! This is my kind of pasta. We’ve made beet pesto a few times and I love it. Your version sounds fantastic. What a lovely dish.

  • Reply
    March 17, 2014 at 1:11 am

    Looks delicious! I’ve made pesto several times, but without yeast. What does it add to the finished pesto?

    • Reply
      March 17, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Hi Mary,

      The nutritional yeast serves as a great substitute for the Parmesan component in traditional pesto. I tend to eat a lot of vegan-based meals. Obviously this dish is topped with goat cheese, but the nutritional yeast helps to cut back on some of the dairy, while also packing in some B vitamins. I’d definitely suggest giving it a try, but if not, do substitute parm!

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