It occurs to me that I may be confusing to some of you with my sporadic not-so-healthy recipes thrown in every once in a while. But truthfully, this is how we do it around here. We eat pretty healthfully most of the time. Often our meals are vegan. Sometimes gluten free, and always full of nutritious, seasonal produce. But occasionally, we enjoy a good pizza, or a big bowl of ice cream. Or triple cream brie.
I decided a while back, after going through numerous spells of being vegan, or cutting out all sugar, or eliminating gluten, or juice fasting, that I was tired of labels and rules. Whenever I would deprive myself of something… I would end up wanting it even more. In general we try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, and so when we feel like having something decadent, it’s totally fine, in moderation. This way there is no guilt, and I can actually enjoy it. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but this is what we do. I really like the idea of Mark Bittman’s eating plan, “vegan before dinnertime“.
Arugula on its own can have a bitter quality. In this pesto, blend it with fresh basil or flat leaf parsley.
Begin layering your sandwich.
Lightly brown both sides in a heavy bottom skillet, using a combination of butter and olive oil, then finish in a 375F oven to get it perfectly melty and toasty without having the bread get too dark.
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Good sourdough bread or rustic bread
fresh mozzarella, sliced
Arugula pesto ( see below)
Butter and olive oil for the pan
Preheat oven to 375F
Layer fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto between two slices of bread. Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in a heavy bottom oven proof skillet. Lightly brown each side place in the hot oven. Bake until cheese is melty, about 10 minutes.
Arugula Pesto ( makes one cup)
2 large garlic cloves
1/4 C smoked Almonds ( or roasted almonds)
1 Cup packed Basil leaves( or flat leaf parsley)
2 Cups packed Arugula
1/3 C olive oil, plus 1 T
1/8 C fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt (if your almonds are salted, use less)
Place first 4 ingredients in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined, scraping down sides as necessary. This recipe is intentionally a little salty and a little lemony, if eaten on its own. It’s meant to flavor the sandwich, or could be tossed with pasta, or even mixed with a little mayo (or veganaise) for a flavorful sandwich spread.