Arugula Pesto Bread for #greenslove

This month’s theme for the #lovebloghop was leafy greens! That’s right, March is #greenslove. Be sure to add any of your March 2012 recipes that include leafy greens to the hop!

I must admit, when I first saw that the theme for this month was leafy greens I was stumped.

Desserts don’t usually have leafy greens in them.

That thought got me to bread. Bread would be more likely to have a leafy green in it somewhere.

arugula pesto bowl Arugula Pesto Bread for #greenslove

And then it struck me, pesto! I once made an arugula pesto in high school. This was the perfect time to retest that recipe and use it as a bread filling!

This bread even pleased the previously pesto hating boyfriend.

I recommend it toasted for breakfast with eggs. Or as the bread in a grilled chicken panini.

finished bread  Arugula Pesto Bread for #greenslove

What would you eat with this pesto swirled bread?

Arugula Pesto Bread

Recipe adapted from Strawberry Pepper

I made a double batch of pesto to have some leftover. You can cut the recipe in half and use all of that to fill your bread, or make the whole thing (leaving out the parmesan cheese) and freeze it for a later date!

Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 cup warm water (warm enough for you to be able to hold your hand in it with out it hurting)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour (or a blend! I used 1 cup bread flour + 2 cups AP flour mixed together)

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 4 cups organic baby arugula
  • 1 cup walnut chips, or roughly chopped walnut pieces
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

pesto bread collage  Arugula Pesto Bread for #greenslove

To Make the Bread:

  1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water by letting it stand for 5-10 minutes. It will be frothy and bubbling when ready.
  2. Add the salt, olive oil, and 2 cups flour to the yeast mixture. Stir everything together until it sticks to itself and starts to form a ball.
  3. Dump it out onto a well floured (using the remaining 1 cup flour) surface or a lightly floured Roulpat. Knead the dough, incorporating a little bit of the flour at a time as you knead. I didn’t incorporate all of mine, maybe half by the time my bread was ready to rise.
  4. Once your bread is smooth, no longer tacky or sticky, and passes the windowpane test it is ready to rise. Do this by oiling a large bowl, adding the dough – turn once to cover in oil – covering with a slightly damp paper towel and leaving in a warm place for about an hour. **Use this time to make your pesto!**
  5. After an hour, check the dough to see if it’s ready. It should be doubled in size and keep an indentation if you stick your finger in it. If it’s not ready, let it sit for 15 -30 more minutes and check again. Once ready, dump the dough back out onto the floured surface and roll out to 1/2 – 1/4 inch thickness.
  6. Spread 2/3 – 1 cup of pesto over the bread. Do not spread it all the way to the edges! You want a nice even layer, not too thick or else it’s hard to roll the bread. Then carefully roll the bread up like a jelly roll cake. Make an attempt to haphazardly seal the edges and ends, and carefully fit into a greased bread loaf pan. Let the bread rise for an additional hour.
  7. After about 45 minutes of rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Once the bread is done rising and the oven is preheated, bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.
  8. Remove after 5 minutes in the pan, flip out and cool on a cooling rack. Eat immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap. The bread should keep for 3-4 days when tightly wrapped.
pesto 1 Arugula Pesto Bread for #greenslove   pesto 3 Arugula Pesto Bread for #greenslove

To Make the Pesto:

  1. Lightly toast the walnut pieces or chips in a saucepan over medium heat until they become fragrant. Set aside.
  2. Gently roast the garlic cloves over medium heat just until they start to golden and smell wonderful. Set aside.
  3. Layer the arugula, walnuts, garlic, salt and pepper in your blender or food processor. Pour the olive oil over it all and give it a whirl. It only took me a few 5 second pulses to get it smooth and creamy in the Vitamix.
  4. Dump it all out into a bowl and mix in the parmesan cheese. You could have added it to the blender, but I wanted to keep the cheese pieces a little larger for the bread filling. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to use.

Don’t forget to check out the other #greenslove bloghop co-hosts! 

ASTIG Vegan ~ Richgail ~  @astigvegan
Bon a croquer ~ Valerie ~ @Valouth
Cheap Ethnic Eatz ~ Evelyne ~ @cethniceatz
Easily Good Eats ~ Three Cookies
Oh Cake ~ Jessica ~ @jesshose

About bigfatbaker

BigFatBaker is written by Erin Meyer. Erin is a college student looking to learn more about the kitchen through her various baking adventures. Check out the about page for more information!


  1. Looks delicious and I don’t think I’d eat it with anything but a bit of really good olive oil :)

  2. Oooh… Erin this sounds divine! I love that you were creative with baking with greens and this is an awesome #greenslove recipe.

  3. So very creative.Love the idea of pesto in a bread!So delicious :)Sending you some #Greenslove!

  4. YUM! So creative and pretty too – I made a version just like this a few months back using pistachios as the nut.

  5. I ‘m always fascinated by breadmaking and would love to try this recipe! Thanks for sharing the greenslove!

  6. I think this would be the perfect bread for a turkey sandwich. There is something about turkey and pesto that just seems to go so nicely together. Sometimes when I have leftover turkey I will make pasta and pesto and mix them all together and it is yummy!

  7. Pesto bread? I’m sorry, I think i’m hallucinating.

    You took my two favourite things and just blew my mind.

    I’m having visions of this bread with cheese and making a toasted sandwich…

    Sorry, I’m drooling. ;)

  8. I’m with Liam! This bread looks so mouthwatering! All it needs are thin shavings of Parmesan dropped onto it while it’s still warm…oh my goodness – I can’t wait to make it!!

  9. Pesto bread – love that idea and then arugula pesto bread – YUMMY! What a great idea and fabulous loaf of bread!

  10. Your bread looks amazing! I love pesto bread and I love that you used arugula! Wonderful recipe!!

  11. WOW… This is perfect!!!
    What a wonderful idea of adding pesto in the loaf…
    I love it!!

  12. erin, oh my goodness, i am DROOLING. i used to get this pesto bread from Great Harvest Bakery…. it was literally fresh baked bread with pesto and cheese. I would spread some honey butter on it and I was seriously in heaven. ahhhhhhh. i love your creativity btw. sending some #greenslove to you!

  13. I’d just sit right down and eat that bread as it is!! Nothing better than freshly made bread. A nice salad though would round it out nicely!!

  14. This looks SO flavorful! Just stopping by to send you some #greenslove! Great to co-host with you!

  15. nice bread you have here…wish i can bake breads as well myself :’(

    thanks for introducing me to a new ‘pesto’. the only pesto i know is made of basil…ahahah! ignorant me!

    more greenslove your way!

  16. Oh, how I love, love, love pesto! Your bread sounds absolutely divine, and I love that you made it with arugala-one of my favorite greens after kale. Happy #greenslove!!

  17. What I great idea! I would have loved to have seen a sliced piece of that loaf, it sounds delicious. The color is so vibrant and your pictures are gorgeous. Great Work!

  18. Not only is arugula pesto a lovely idea, using is to making bread is just genius. the loaf looks perfect.

  19. Brilliant idea of incorporating pesto in the bread. Bookmarked

  20. I’ve been meaning to make arugula pesto! You’re inspired me :)

  21. Oh your bread looks soooooo pretty!!! It sounds fantastic, I love how we were on the save wavelength, LOL:-) Hugs, Terra

  22. I love that you made fresh bread with arugula pesto. I tlooks amazing! It is difficult to bake with greens, but you have succeeded nicely. Sending #greenskove your way!

  23. I LOVE making Pesto with Arguala. I actually don’t even remember the last time I made it with Basil. Your bread looks delish!

  24. I adore pesto and yours looks perfect:)The green is so vibrant. Your bread is so interesting and flavorful. Great job for #greenslove month:)

    • bigfatbaker says:

      Thank you, Lora! I was a little surprised with how vibrant the pesto was, but it turned out pretty in the bread.

  25. oh pesto! i love it as it’s so healthy apart from the other nutty breads :)

    Latest: Penang Food Festival

  26. This looks wonderful! I am so in love with pesto, it is SO good. Put it in bread and that together? Awesomeness

  27. Oh wow, this is genius! I love pesto, and that bread looks fantastic. I think I’d love that with mozzarella and sun dried tomatoes!

  28. “Plain w/ olive oil and red wine” is all I have to say to that!

  29. Perfect idea! I love pesto!…. and I love carbs…I could eat myself to death on fresh bread :) Yours looks fabulous!

  30. wow, this bread looks so amazing…I want a slice! please =)



  31. This looks amazing (as does everything else on your blog). I want to try some!!

  32. I reread this title twice. Seriously, pesto is the best thing on earth – and in bread. Oh my lord… I have got to try this!

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