arugula caprese salad with kale pesto . sprouted kitchen

"I had that feeing you get - there is no word for this feeling - when you are simultaneously happy and sad and angry and grateful and accepting and appaled and every other possible emotion, all smashed together and amplified. Why is there no word for this feeling?" -Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things

The ocean does this for me, I love it and hate it and need it; so I was happy to find myself there, feeling my proverbial currents, with the person who understands me best. We took this salad and a few other snacks to our favorite picnic spot. I've talked about it here, multiple times, but when I am feeling frazzeled and a bit out of control, I need to look out at the huge expanse of ocean and box up my worry in the face of perspective. The unrest is powerless against that dark blue horizon. Maybe more later. Maybe not. Had a few sharp comments around here lately which makes me want to write less. I keep thinking about Kelsey's post about how with blogs, you only get part of the story, not the full picture, but through inviting people into part of the picture, they take liberties to critque your "pride" or "perfect life." Let's just keep in mind that for anyone, blog author or not, you're only getting glimpses into the tangled and complicated workings of hearts. Practice grace.

I'm teaching a class this afternoon - talking about eating real food, my book, and serving a few appetizers. I prepped a few things yesterday and wanted to quickly share this salad with you. It's an adaptation of one of the recipes in our cookbook. I do love the printed photo with large, stacked beefsteak tomatoes. I typically don't love tomatoes, but I will eat a ripe summer tomato from our local farm when they're ready. Exceptions to every rule, even the self imposed ones. The presentation in the book makes a gorgeous starter for a dinner party, but I needed something I could plate easily for 20 people. This preparation makes the salad more portable, adds even more greens to the picture, and makes it perfect for family style summer meals. Hope you have fun plans for the weekend and some of it involves eating outside with good company. THE best.

arugula caprese salad with kale pesto . sprouted kitchen


Adapted from The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook

This will make more kale pesto than you'll need to dress this salad. It is excellent on eggs, as a sandwich spread, an alternative to pizza sauce, tossed in with some noodles or as a dip. Baby tomatoes are up at the farmers market, I love the sweet 100's, but any ripe baby tomato is just fine here.



  • 1 small bunch Tuscan/lacinato kale
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. baby tomatoes
  • 8 oz. small mozzarella balls (bocconcini or pearline)
  • 3 cups baby arugula
  • flaked sea salt, optional




arugula caprese salad with kale pesto . sprouted kitchen

For the kale pesto, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the tough stems from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Blanch the kale leaves for about 30 seconds, transfer to a strainer and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Once the kale is cool, squeeze out the excess moisture. This should yield about 1 1/2 cups blanched kale.

In a food processor, combine the garlic, walnuts and pulse to chop. Add the kale, basil, parmesan, red pepper flakes, water, lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Turn the processor on and drizzle in the olive oil until you get the consistency you like. Thin with a bit more lemon juice and a splash of water for a more dressing-like consistency. Taste and adjust as needed.

Slice the baby tomatoes and mozzarella balls in half and collect them in a large mixing bowl. Add a few spoonfuls of the kale pesto and toss gently to coat, adding desired amount of dressing. Toss in your arugula, add a pinch of flaky sea salt and serve.

Make ahead tip: The tomatoes and mozzarella can be dressed hours in advance and kept covered in the fridge, I actually recommend that they marinate in the pesto for better flavor. Just leave the mix at room temperature for awhile so the pesto dressing will distribute easily. Add arugula just before serving.

arugula caprese salad with kale pesto . sprouted kitchen

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Reader Comments (90)

Your blog is absolutely fabulous Sara - great recipes, wonderful words, inspiring thoughts. Keep it up and ignore the haters - they're jealous of everything that is wonderful about this space :-)

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthelittleloaf

Ooh yummy! I think I am going to make kale pesto today!

xo Jennifer

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

I've been staring blankly at a bag of kale in my fridge for the past week and half, wondering what I wanted to do with it but not feeling particularly inspired ... until now! Kale pesto, it is!! Bah humbug to any naysayers - you write a beautiful blog that inspires many!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTrisha @ Vignette

Haters are losers. The best policy is to ignore them. Don't allow them to deter you from writing. After all, this is YOUR space :)

Love this salad, Sara! And can't beat a delicious kale pesto!!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKiran @

I love me some arugula!

And I love how you said "Practice grace". Isn't that so true for everyone?! Good words, good words.


a) this salad is stunning and I want it smeared on my face this instant.

b) you're amazing. don't forget it. ignore the rest.

c) I don't have a c, but I always feel like there should be a c. xo.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner


a) this salad is stunning and I want it smeared on my face this instant.

b) you're amazing. don't forget it. ignore the rest.

c) I don't have a c, but I always feel like there should be a c. xo.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBev Weidner

Just want to say that I really really appreciate your blog - it is my favorite place to come for healthy and delicious recipes for my family. Thank you!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn

I feel the same way about the ocean. Happy to find a kindred spirit :)

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCeleste

I love your blog!! Please don't stop writing!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkatie

Kale pesto is one of my favorites!! I can't imagine how delicious it would be combined with all these other fresh ingredients. Perfect for summer!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Hello! If I cannot get my hands on dinosaur kale, do you think the always-abundant curly kale will be okay? I'm not familiar with whether or not the flavors are similar.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Hello! If I cannot get my hands on dinosaur kale, do you think the always-abundant curly kale will be okay? I'm not familiar with whether or not the flavors are similar.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

I absolutely love your blog. I think you you are very relatable. Everytime I read your posts, I learn something about life in general and real food. Keep going!!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca Kasper

<3 you.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkels

This looks so good--perfect for the season. Thanks for sharing, and I think your blog is great.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHannah

@Lisa - yes! Totally fine. I'm just partial to the lacinato texture but you won't notice when it's all blended up.

June 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterSara

I feel just the same way about the ocean, Sara! Something about looking out over the vast expanse of water reminds you of what's eternal and that everything else is just little ripples. This salad looks so gorgeous and fresh. A definite must-make-soon. You and all your work are beautiful! Don't listen to anyone who says otherwise. Keep sharing. :)

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEmily

UH-MA-ZING!!!!! <3

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

I've never commented on a blog before but I felt I had to now! I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog, it has encouraged me to start cooking and try your delicious and healthy (and incredibly original!) combinations. I seriously check your blog every single day in hope of a new post even though I know you only update once a week or so! You are inspiring in so many ways and I greatly look forward to everything you write in the future!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJulia

Must make this immediately! I love SPROUTED KITCHEN! I don't buy many cookbooks, but this is one I proudly own and cook out of regularly! The recipes on this site are fabulous. I have yet to make something that wasn't fabulous.
Hold your head high, you are doing many people a world of good with your healthy recipes and writings!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterlaura

Thank you for your beautiful recipes. I recenlty got your cookbook and was blown away. It's too bad that negative comments come through, what good are they to anyone? Thank you for wading through the negativity of others and still giving us the gift of your talents.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

I am new to your blog (and love it and have also bought your book) and I just wanted to say I have no doubt there are many more of us that appreciate and are inspired by your blog than are negative and critical! Stay strong for us...please ;)! Thank you so much for your delicious and healthy recipes! Keep up the inspiring work :)

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFelicity

This salad is gorgeous! Lovely recipe!

This looks amazing. I wish I could come to one of your classes!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena

echoing every message of encouragement!
this salad is definitely happening asap. thank you for it, and for everything you share here with us. it's always so inspiring and so good and so encouraging -- foodwise, lifewise, all of it.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison

This is fabulous! I have so much kale and arugula in my garden right now. What a great way to combine two of my favorite greens. Thank you :)!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

Do you know why I love this blog? Because every *single* dish I have cooked up using a recipe from this site is absolutely delicious. I can't think of one other food blog that has that high of a success rate. NOT ONE OTHER BLOG. Your baked falafel, chocolate cherry cookies, thai soba bowl, butternut penne with pistachio pesto...i have made them all (any many more). several times.

If people's posts are bringing you down, you email me Sara and I'll give you 100 more reasons why you are great at what you do. now if you'll excuse me, i'm need to head to the grocery store to pick up ingredients to make your naan and chickpea dish...

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTasha @ terra-bites

Please don't write less! Love your writing (and your cookbook) and, may not comment often, but read every post avidly! Don't see what people could possibly NOT like about your blog. Ignore any sharp words... they must be just jealous!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterajsoares

I bought your book before I ever read your blog and I have to say I love them both. I refer to your recipes quite a bit and recommend your site & book to friends. Don't let those folks drag you down. They must not be happy with themselves in the first place if they can actually find the time to write harsh comments on a food blog. Just remember there are people, like me, who visit and appreciate what you do and have to say-you just don't know it because we are quiet and never comment. :)

So I will say this: 1. I love Cheryl Strayed. 2. Keep writing and creating recipes-you are good at it. 3. Because of you I eat the mess out of kale! Trying this recipe soon.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa @ A Cozy Bee

I've never commented on a blog before either, but felt I had to speak up. Don't let yourself be hurt by someone's anonymous comments. Feel sorry for them. And for the record, your blog never made me feel you had a "perfect" life. Quite the contrary, you've always been really honest about your imperfect life. You work at Trader Joe's for goodness sake!!! Check out the book Daring Greatly by Breene Brown. She had a similar reaction to mean commenters.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Hi Sara- I have your book and love your blog although I have never commented before. Please ignore the naysayers. I come here everyday for inspiration and beautiful photography. As my husbands says "People sometimes are idiots". Please don't let negative comments get to you. We love your style and your home and adore your life - no ones life is perfect but I love how you try to make your joyful and I can feel your warmth and love through your writing. So please keep writing!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAarthi

People are jerks. Don't listen to them. I very much enjoy reading your blog.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGiselle

sometimes it feels like we just dont know what hit us!
sometimes i think its because people relate too much
that they can be unkind. i thank you for sharing and im sure it
isnt easy to put stuff out there knowing that critique will
follow, i dont think i could do it.
personally i dont think hating the haters is a solution
but ive done it myself...
im sure though that every difficult thing is an opportunity to be
a better person and ..... thats all i can think of. you know better than anyone else
whats what. take care.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertina

I'm so sorry you've had some ick remarks/comments/commentary. It's never about you, it's about their unhappiness. Sad.
I like the ocean for perspective too. Somehow it all falls into place there.

Oh, and the recipe looks amazing too. :)

Sara - your blog, recipes and words are beautiful and inspirational - keep on shining! !

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterValerie

I love your blog and your cookbook. Keep on going!
The ocean does the same thing for me. I can't imagine living some place where I could not get to it when I need it.
Can't wait to try this salad. Yummy!

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

My favorite foods AND a quote from Cheryl Strayed. How could you have offered anything better?

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

I am also guilty of happily devouring your recipes and never posting a proper thank you so THANK YOU!! You have a gift and I am grateful that you take the time to share it. We have a simple motto in my family towards haters- never let someone's words or actions steal your joy. Stick it to 'em and spread that joy Sara!! :)

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterClarissa

I don't usually comment, but just wanted to say that I adore your recipes and your writing (and your hubby's photography!) - keep doing what you're doing! Thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

Oh my gosh, I find it SO hard to believe that anyone would say anything negative about this beautiful space you've created! It makes me sad that they are splashing their negative energy on you. I love your writing (both about food and personal reflections), the recipes you invent, the photography, your stories, your challenges and successes, everything. I also am a person who gets so stung by other people's negativity, so I know how hard it can be to just let it roll off your back. But honestly, I cannot see how in ANY way whatever was said was warranted, and I am sure says more about them than it does you. I hope your heart can heal and you can keep doing what you do, because I would truly miss Sprouted Kitchen so much if you didn't write. I know it sounds silly, but you bring so much inspiration, happiness, and thoughtfulness to me. There are so, so few blogs that I truly look forward to seeing new in my feed, and yours is always, always one of that tiny group. Why do mean people torment us more sensitive people so much?! I will never understand! Hope you feel better soon and that your writing energy comes back and you get to feel even more sure of yourself and at peace than ever before.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

Hi Sara,
My name is Amy and I'm a journalist based in Sydney, Australia. I can't even remember how i found this blog but I visit often to marvel at your lovely turn of phrase, wholesome but delicious recipes, and your husband's stunning photographs. I appreciate how open, honest and creative you are and your site has become something I click to when my mind is at its mushiest and I need a burst of beautiful to reinvigorate me. Try not to take those negative comments to heart because, in the words of my mother, 'this is who you are and people can either like it or leave'.

June 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

You're a genius!

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterrjr

Hey lady. So glad to hear you found some peace and perspective in the face of the ocean. You captured it all so well - how staring at that unfathomable expanse pushes the rest of our thoughts and worries out of the way, whether or not we were seeking or expecting it. I hope you're feeling more and more at rest; I understand the unrest so well, and it can haunt. And keep doing what you do, my friend. Tangled and complicated we are, indeed. But it's so beautiful, too. You're doing good things. xo

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

i am in love with each of your writing, pictures, and recipes. Please keep writing and I cant believe how anyone can write hateful things to you. A blog is just a snapshot of bloggers life, may look perfect or imperfect, that doesnt even matter. Sending you warm thoughts <3

Now THAT's a good-looking salad.

Sara, I remember meeting you in Portland in support of the release of your cookbook, after only a brief knowledge of your blog here. Your humility, love of people and food, sweet demeanor and smile made such an impression on me. I'm so glad I bought your cookbook that day because I have been enjoying the hell out of it since! I've even loaned it to a friend after she so loved your balsamic roasted squash and tempeh meatballs i served, as well as to my mother who gardens... I thought she would appreciate your fresh take on new ways to prepare her produce bounty. Monday night I made us your naanwiches with chickpea mash.... so simple and delicious! You are inspiring. I hope you do understand that your writing makes a positive effect on many.

We can't compliment-away the unkind words that may appear here occasionally, but we can tell you that we never want you to stop writing :) We are just so pleased/fortunate to read along with your words here. Lifting you up.

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

I never comment but reading about the negativity you've been on the receiving end of really upset me. Your blog is an inspiration. I just made the beet burgers which went down a storm even with committed carnivores at a recent BBQ. Thank you for all the effort you go to putting all these amazing recipes out there. Ignore the negative people, the rest of us (the sane majority) think you rock!

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfonte

Perfect for this hot weather!

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterColette

Do well and let them speak.

June 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEdlyn

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