Appetizer, Entrée, Summer, Side, Salad, Gluten Free


arugula caprese salad with kale pesto . sprouted kitchen
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
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
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
arugula caprese salad with kale pesto . sprouted kitchen
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Appetizer, Snack, Summer, Spring


Ahhh, it feels kind of nice to write a recipe without instructions. This is just to get you thinking beyond the usual, or maybe this is your usual with a few little additions. There is always a reason for a cheese plate, and I think one with a little extra thought goes a long way. We're going camping by the beach this weekend with family, and that's as good a place as any for a cheese plate, if you ask me.

I've catered a handful of dinner parties, and the selections below are some choices I've come to find popular by extremely close survey. We each have our favorites, and you should by all means include yours, but this combination is what makes sense to me for the end of summer. I like to keep the cheeses on the lighter side for warm weather, saving the cheddars, bries and bleus for the cooler months, this being an exception.


chisle off a few pieces, drizzle raw honey


rolled in finely chopped lemon thyme, chives, pinch of rosemary and ground pepper


with a bit of apricot jam


with slow roasted yellow tomatoes, basil and balsamic reduction

Here is a recipe for Heidi's tomatoes, mine were so juicy, I used half the oil suggested.

To make your own balsamic reduction, just simmer balsamic vinegar until it reduces to 1/3 of its original volume. Remember it will thicken even more as it cools. I suggest transferring it to some sort of glass vessel before it cools, as it is quite sticky.

Marcona Almonds

Fresh Grapes or Figs


Seeded Crackers

Let the cheese sit out a bit, don't serve it straight from the fridge.

And drink wine with it, because life's short and cheese and wine make all sorts of sense.

(update for those asking) Cheese forks are from Napa Style.

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