dinner on the deck: kale pesto pasta + strawberry + raspberry arugula salad

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Over the years I’ve become a woman who cares more about the quality and depth of my relationships than the velocity at which I acquire them. I remember a time when I was heartbroken, downright devastated, if a certain number of people didn’t attend a party I’d hosted. There was always a magic number. Tonight will be fine, just fine, if only 30 people would show up. Any less than 30 and I’d feel like a failure, because I was desperately in need of affection and acceptance, a need to feel cool.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’ve gotten older, but numbers don’t mean much anymore. When you allow yourself to settle in stillness, you realize that you’ve spent your life knee-deep in white noise when you’d rather skirt the edges of the things, the periphery. The quiet tends to amplify all of one’s insecurities and needs, and it took me years to realize that the time I spend with fewer people is infinitely more impactful than being in the eye of the storm. And suddenly my relationships evolved into something magical, long-lasting, because I spent time with people rather than passed it.

On a whim I planned a farm-to-table dinner with an old friend, Sarah. She promised to bring the yummy dessert (almond yoghurt infused with coconut parfait, mixed with luscious strawberry and rhubarb compote and homemade muesli), while I fixed a wheat-free meal. To say that we had a time is an understatement. WE HAD A TIME.

Onward! I fixed quinoa penne with kale pesto, a refreshing salad of arugula, strawberries, raspberries and pomegranate seeds, and a side of Moroccan lentils sweetened with carrots and dates. I invite you to indulge in some hearty pesto and spend time with those whom you love.

KALE PESTO INGREDIENTS
2 cup of mixed kale (I use curly kale + Lacinato), de-stemmed and chopped
1/4 cup blanched slivered almonds, lightly toasted in a dry pan
2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup olive oil
salt + pepper
6 oz of whole wheat penne pasta

DIRECTIONS
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Plunge the kale leaves in the water for thirty seconds and then shock them in a bowl of cold water. This will halt the cooking process and ensure that your kale keeps its beautiful verdant hue. Drain in colander, then lay on a cloth towel to extract as much water as possible. Place in the bowl of a food processor with garlic and almonds. Add a generous pinch of salt and pulse briefly to combine and chop. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil until you achieve a loose pesto-like consistency with some texture remaining.

I love adding the pesto, with a slight drizzle of olive oil, at the bottom of a large bowl. Drain and cook the pasta al dente and then mix with the pesto. DIVINE.

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STRAWBERRY + RASPBERRY ARUGULA SALAD INGREDIENTS (Inspired by Whole Foods’ Health Starts Here, but the recipe is purely my own)
4 cups arugula, packed
1 cup strawberries, stemmed and quartered
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup basil, finely diced
2 tbsp juice of a lemon
2 tbsp juice of an orange
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Whisk the basil, juices, salt and pepper in one bowl. Add the leaves and fruit in another bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss + serve!

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6 thoughts on “dinner on the deck: kale pesto pasta + strawberry + raspberry arugula salad

  1. Before the month is out I am going to pair your kale pesto with some sweet potato noodles. Love that you’ve used almonds too, rather than the traditional pine.

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      1. I spiralize raw sweet potatoes, and then either eat the noodles raw in a salad, or lightly saute them until they have the texture of al dente spaghetti. They soak up other flavors as easily as their grain cousins.

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