Arugula Pesto Pasta

If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

I am so thrilled to be a part of a local, organic CSA that's only eight miles from my house! We used to get those Full Circle boxes. It's an organic CSA that's packaged up here in Alaska but includes produce from about five northwestern states; you can also get some far-reaching produce like avocados from Mexico. However, their quality seemed to be going downhill and I really wanted the produce to be actually local. Where I live, in the Matanuska Valley in Alaska, thrives a rich agricultural community and I knew I could find a great CSA out here. That's when I found Sun Circle Farms (not an ad or sponsor, just excited)! I even have a friend who works there, and it feels great supporting a small, hometown farm. 

Included in the first box were Japanese turnips, a ton of spring salad mix, rhubarb, bok choy, chives, and a ton of arugula. Using the spring salad mix for salads (Todd and I both eating one a day for a week, go greens!), I had to think of something else to do with the arugula other than using it in a salad. That's when I thought of this pesto! You can seriously use pretty much any veggie that is green for pesto. I even have a recipe on the blog broccoli pesto. Yup. 

Unfortunately, Todd hates pesto. I know right!? Seriously, who is this man!? I have never in my life heard anyone who claims to be anything other than beyond ecstatic about the stuff, myself included. Oh well, more pesto for me! #pestoisthebesto

Also, If you participate in a CSA, you're probably getting pretty similar produce as I am. Check out my social media to see what I've been making with mine for some great ideas! Sometimes it's hard to use up all that fresh produce before the next provisions roll around!

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Arugula Pesto Pasta

Kathleen Henry @ Produce On Parade

Published 06/21/2017

If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb dry penne pasta
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • Heaping ¼ cup walnuts
  • 8 oz fresh arugula (about 4 packed cups)
  • Small handful of fresh basil (about ¼ packed cup) (optional)
  • 3 tbsp miso paste
  • ⅓ cup vegan mozzarella
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the pasta, cook according to package until al dente; drain and set aside.
  2. Process the garlic in a food processor for about ten seconds; add the walnuts and process until finely chopped. Add the arugula and in batches, as much as the bowl can hold, and process until smooth. Process in the miso paste, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, and pepper. With the processor running drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth. Taste and add additional pepper and salt as needed.
  3. Stir the pesto into the cooked pasta. There will be about ½ cup of pesto leftover. It’s great to add to the leftovers when reheated or save to coat boiled potatoes, use in stuffed mushrooms, or for vegan pesto scrambled tofu. Yum!

Yield: 6-8 servings

Arugula Pesto Pasta - Produce On Parade - If you have boatloads of arugula, this is a terrific way to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. Arugula pesto has a little bite to it and packed with bold flavor. It whips up in the time it takes to boil the pasta, so it’s a terrific weeknight meal and a wonderful way to get in some extra greens!

I just couldn't resist throwing up a photo of Oliver eating his first solid foods meal. Well, if rice cereal is considered 'solid' ;) He is in full-swing teething mode; two toppers and two bottom-dwellers should be popping out soon!

Where does the time go!? I feel like just yesterday we were leaving the hospital like, "Um, so are you sure we just take him? Are you coming with us? I don't think we're responsible enough for a human life! Are you sure we just walk out of here with this new human???" Somehow though, it also feels like he's always been a part of our lives. It's so strange. 

produce on parade

Vegan Saag Tofu Paneer

This meal is a spiced, green powerhouse with filling plant-protein. Creamy vegan saag tofu paneer is sure to please even spinach haters (at least it did in my house). It’s quick and easy too; a terrific and unique weekday meal that’s hearty, comforting, and satisfying. Slightly adapted from Serious Eats.

Produce On Parade - Vegan Saag Tofu Paneer - This meal is a spiced, green powerhouse with filling plant-protein. Creamy vegan saag tofu paneer is sure to please even spinach haters (at least it did in my house). It’s quick and easy too; a terrific and unique weekday meal that’s hearty, comforting, and satisfying. Slightly adapted from Serious Eats.

Life with an infant is difficult. I know this is a **stunning revelation** to all of you who have raised children...*cough* sarcasm. Everything is a compromise and there are no survivors. In case you don't know what it's like, here's just a glimpse: Oliver is down for his patented 12 minute nap (oh sweet joy); do I shower or eat? Eat. As fast as I can. Meals are no longer savored but inhaled in manner that would shock any observer. What's this? Miraculously, his 12 minute nap has turned into a 20 minute nap. Do I shower or just sit and zone out for as long as I possibly can? Definitely zone out. This could mean reading a book, pursuing Facebook, checking Instagram, snuggling with the pups, or literally just zoning out. Zoning out it is. Alert the press! This is turning into a half hour nap!! Do I shower or try to clean up the house/do something productive. Clean the house. Or try, oh fresh hell... he's awake. 

Life with a newly minted teeny person is a constant battle of decisions. Mostly over whether to tackle personal hygiene or do any of the other basic, everyday life things that you took for granted, nay even put off, before having a child. My mornings, exhausted after waiting for Oliver to fall asleep hopefully by midnight and then waking up to nurse three plus times a night, are decisively rushed. Like a sleep-drunk wonder woman, I whirlwind around trying to tidy the house and clean up the kitchen (whoops, I must have zoned out for the remaining half an hour of the nap), and make things easier for Todd while he is home; preparing the bottles, arranging the cloth diapers, feeding the dogs, getting my lunch together, making a giant pot of coffee (why did we go with a pour-over?!), and putting together a quick breakfast for him. 

Motherhood is rarely glamorous or even joyful all the time. This is no time to be a Pollyanna, but unfortunately that is what many new mothers portray. Honestly, my hair is permanently frizzled, my clothes probably need a good washing, and my eyes speak the truth at how run-down I am trying to work out how to best be Mother, Wife, Employee, Friend, Myself. Sometimes my mood is quiet or frustrated or overwhelmed. The thirty pounds I'm still hefting around is getting really, really old, and pumping three times a day is (in the words of a fellow coworker) "annoying and a hassle". Who wouldn't be a little irritable? Prior to pregnancy, running five miles a day during my lunch break or doing an hour of yoga was just part of me. Now it's all I can do to drag my lumpy, tired body to do the grocery shopping or... seriously... half the time I just fall asleep on the tiny bench in one of our mammography dressing rooms that we don't use, shhhhh. It's probably the most pathetic thing you've ever seen. But I'm okay with that. I'm okay telling the whole world that this is a struggle. A struggle I've brought upon myself, I know, and a struggle that is pretty much the best thing ever. But it sucks. But it's the best.

I'm not complaining. I want to let you know that if you find yourself not as cheerful as people think you should be with new motherhood or 100% rainbows and giggles with your new life or perhaps you're just downright f-ing freaked that your hair is falling out at an alarming and worrying rate and the fact that you can no longer run one measly mile without walking (damn bedrest)... if you can relate to any of this at all; I tell you this... you are not alone. Hang in there. You're not alone and despite social media and every mother ever telling you that that little bundle of joy is the best thing to have ever happened to you (it really is though)... it's still okay to be anxious, tired, and not feel like yourself sometimes. And not even in a postpartum depression way either. You don't need a medical diagnosis to feel out of sorts (though if you suspect you might have PPD, please seek medical guidance). Also, you don't have to apologize for it or make excuses! It's okay to take your time to adjust. Don't let anyone make you feel as though you should rush it or pretend to be happier than you are.

A lot of my days are super happy. I'm incredibly lucky to have such a loving husband, terrific job, and in general a pretty wonderful life. My little fella is quite possibly the best thing that I've ever experienced, but I'd be lying to say sometimes I don't feel like myself or that I'm too exhausted to leave the bed. And that sleep-deprivation can be a real bitch. It can make me feel like a bad mom sometimes, but I'm here to tell you that (just like I tell Oliver), everything's okay. Mommas, we'll get through to the other side. If you need a little help, ask for it! I confess I am TERRIBLE at doing this, but hopefully you can inspire me. 

Also... you guys... horror of all horrors, I'm twelve books behind schedule for my yearly reading quota. #realproblems #moresarcasm #whoamI

I have a lot of momma-to-be friends out there; I hope you found this both terrifying and helpful, but mostly helpful.. and somewhat comforting... but truly scary. The hair thing is for real. I'll be partially bald soon. Below is a recipe I included in this post, mostly so I could find a way to vent. It's really delicous. 

Vegan Saag Tofu Paneer

Recipe by Kathleen @ Produce On Parade

This meal is a spiced, green powerhouse with filling plant-protein. Creamy vegan saag tofu paneer is sure to please even spinach haters (at least it did in my house). It’s quick and easy too; a terrific and unique weekday meal that’s hearty, comforting, and satisfying. Slightly adapted from Serious Eats.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 tbsp miso paste (I like red)
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2 lemons), divided
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Dash of kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • ⅔ cup vegan milk
  • ½ head of small cauliflower, florets chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1-inch knob of ginger, minced
  • Dash of crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ⅛ tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 oz fresh swiss chard, destemmed and chopped
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 heaping cup frozen corn

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. In a large bowl whisk together the miso, half the lemon juice, and 1 tbsp oil. Add the cubed tofu and toss to coat, sprinkling with salt and pepper. Bake in a single layer on the sheet for about 25 minutes until golden brown. Set aside.
  2. While the tofu cooks, combine the milk and cauliflower in large rimmed frying pan; bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender; transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In the now empty frying pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil over medium-low. Saute the garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and remaining spices in the pan for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the chard, spinach, and corn; cook for about 5 minutes until the chard is wilted.
  4. Stir in the blended cauliflower to combine, then toss in the baked tofu; add additional milk to obtain desired consistency and cook over medium for about 5 minutes.
  5. Serve hot, over rice or with vegan naan.
Produce On Parade - Vegan Saag Tofu Paneer - This meal is a spiced, green powerhouse with filling plant-protein. Creamy vegan saag tofu paneer is sure to please even spinach haters (at least it did in my house). It’s quick and easy too; a terrific and unique weekday meal that’s hearty, comforting, and satisfying. Slightly adapted from Serious Eats.