Creamy Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup (1 Pot!)

Friends, it’s no secret we love soup, and this creamy Tuscan-inspired version with white beans and kale is our new favorite for fall and winter! It’s hearty, warming, comforting, SO flavorful, and packed with nourishing veggies and fiber-rich beans. Ba…

Creamy Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup (1 Pot!)

Friends, it’s no secret we love soup, and this creamy Tuscan-inspired version with white beans and kale is our new favorite for fall and winter! It’s hearty, warming, comforting, SO flavorful, and packed with nourishing veggies and fiber-rich beans. Basically, a hug in a bowl.

It’s ideal for meal prep or freezing and comes together easily in just 1 pot! While satisfying on its own, we also love it with Vegan Garlic Bread, Spicy Tempeh Sausage, or turkey meatballs (recipe coming soon).

Creamy Tuscan White Bean & Kale Soup (1 Pot!) from Minimalist Baker →

Garlicky Homemade Croutons

Who could say no to toasty and savory little bites of bread!? Not us. Flavorful, crunchy croutons are always a welcome addition to soups and salads, and they also happen to be SO quick and easy to make at home! 
Once you give these homemade crouto…

Garlicky Homemade Croutons

Who could say no to toasty and savory little bites of bread!? Not us. Flavorful, crunchy croutons are always a welcome addition to soups and salads, and they also happen to be SO quick and easy to make at home! 

Once you give these homemade croutons a taste, we’re sure you’ll be putting them on everything, or just eating them right off the baking sheet.

Garlicky Homemade Croutons from Minimalist Baker →

Baked Zucchini Slices with Vegan “Parmesan”

Still drowning in zucchini? We’ve got you, friends! Allow us to introduce a super delicious (and easy) way to use it up: baked zucchini slices with vegan parmesan cheese! We’re BIG fans.
These tasty little squash slices are cheesy, herby, and carameliz…

Baked Zucchini Slices with Vegan “Parmesan”

Still drowning in zucchini? We’ve got you, friends! Allow us to introduce a super delicious (and easy) way to use it up: baked zucchini slices with vegan parmesan cheese! We’re BIG fans.

These tasty little squash slices are cheesy, herby, and caramelized. They pair wonderfully with proteins or pastas but are also a perfect snack all on their own! Just 1 pan, 5 ingredients, and 20 minutes required.

Baked Zucchini Slices with Vegan “Parmesan” from Minimalist Baker →

Easy Shakshuka (with Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)

This savory and saucy shakshuka is MB at its finest, friends! Made in 1 pot with simple ingredients, it’s the perfect quick and satisfying meal suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s subtly spicy, super comforting, and pairs well with toasted b…

Easy Shakshuka (with Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)

This savory and saucy shakshuka is MB at its finest, friends! Made in 1 pot with simple ingredients, it’s the perfect quick and satisfying meal suitable for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s subtly spicy, super comforting, and pairs well with toasted bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, roasted potatoes, and beyond. 

It’s especially perfect for tomato season (we see you, summer gardeners drowning in tomatoes!) but can be enjoyed any time of year by subbing canned tomatoes.

Easy Shakshuka (with Fresh or Canned Tomatoes) from Minimalist Baker →

Roasted Tomatoes with Burrata

When our garden is bursting with tomatoes, I make all of the tomato recipes I can because garden tomatoes are the BEST and I want to use them ALL. No tomato gets left behind:) I love making bruschetta, tomato salad, pico de gallo, caprese pasta salad, …

When our garden is bursting with tomatoes, I make all of the tomato recipes I can because garden tomatoes are the BEST and I want to use them ALL. No tomato gets left behind:) I love making bruschetta, tomato salad, pico de gallo, caprese pasta salad, and more! I am currently obsessed with Roasted Tomatoes…

Pesto Pasta Salad

This creamy pesto pasta salad recipe is easy and bursting with flavor! It’s the perfect easy summer side dish. What’s…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This creamy pesto pasta salad recipe is easy and bursting with flavor! It’s the perfect easy summer side dish.

Pesto Pasta Salad

What’s more a quintessential summer dish than a great pasta salad? Try this Pesto Pasta Salad recipe, which celebrates everything seasonal in summer! It features chewy bowties with pops of fresh cherry tomatoes, tangy artichokes and peppery baby arugula. Make a batch of fresh basil pesto or grab some at the store, then mix it up in to a creamy dressing to cover everything. This one was so irresistible, we couldn’t stop exclaiming how good it was after stuffing in each bite (and our 5 year old gobbled it up!).

Ingredients in this pesto pasta salad recipe

This pesto pasta salad recipe is simpler than most pasta salads because the ingredient list is short and sweet. The most important thing here? A high quality pesto. It’s best with homemade, but you can use purchased as well (see below for more). Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Bowties (farfalle) or other short-cut pasta
  • Canned artichoke hearts
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced pepperoncini
  • Baby arugula
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Basil pesto
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt
Pesto Pasta Salad

For the pesto: homemade vs storebought

This pesto pasta salad tastes the best when you make it with homemade basil pesto, with fresh summer basil! Of course, we know that’s not always possible. Here’s the thing about pesto: purchased pesto varies greatly between brands. Many purchased brands taste intensely acidic or have an odd aftertaste. Here’s what to know:

  • Homemade pesto has the best flavor! Basil Pesto is best homemade. You can also try Arugula Pesto or Kale Pesto.
  • Purchased pesto brands vary greatly in flavor: some are very acidic. We’ve experimented with lots of different brands: and they all have a different salt and acid level.
  • Squeeze packs of fresh pesto are now on the market, and some have better flavor than jars. Experiment to find one you love!

Notes on the pasta salad dressing

This pesto pasta salad has a deliciously creamy pasta salad dressing that you’ll adore, featuring both Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and pesto. We made this one creamy because we find that pesto on it own can become sticky and dry. Mixing it with a little yogurt and mayo helps it to coat the pasta better. Don’t want to use Greek yogurt? You can substitute sour cream instead.

Pesto

Use any type of short cut pasta

This pesto pasta salad works with any type of short cut pasta you have on hand! We like bowties for this one because of the look and the way that it distributes with the other ingredients. Here are some other types of short cut pasta that work well:

  • Bowties (farfalle): our favorite!
  • Spirals (fusilli)
  • Penne
  • Shells (medium-sized)
  • Orecchiette
  • Gemelli
  • Gigli

Make ahead and storage for pesto pasta salad

This pesto pasta salad is a great salad for a picnic or a barbecue! It tastes best immediately after making, but it does store well. If you make in advance and refrigerate, you may want to refresh the flavors before serving since pasta salad can lose some flavor while storing. Here’s what to know:

  • Pesto pasta salad lasts for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. It’s great for cookouts or healthy lunches throughout the week.
  • After refrigeration, make sure to refresh the flavors. Bring the salad to room temperature. Taste and see if you need to add a pinch of extra salt. If the pasta salad seems dry, add a dollop of sour cream, mayo or pesto to revive the creamy texture.
Pesto Pasta Salad Recipe

More pasta salad recipes

There’s nothing like a great pasta salad for a summer event, be it a barbecue, cookout or picnic! Here are a few more pasta salad recipes we love:

This pesto pasta salad recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 5 to 6

Description

This creamy pesto pasta salad recipe is easy and bursting with flavor! It’s the perfect easy summer side dish.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces short cut pasta (we used farfalle)
  • 14 ounce can (8.5 ounce dry weight) quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • ⅓ cup sliced pepperoncini
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup basil pesto (homemade or purchased, or kale pesto or arugula pesto)
  • ¼ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as desired

Instructions

  1. Start a large pot of well-salted water to boil. Boil the pasta until al dente according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and run cool water over it until it’s room temperature, then shake off any extra water.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: roughly chop the artichokes and slice the tomatoes.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the pesto, Greek yogurt, mayonnaise and kosher salt. Add the drained pasta, vegetables and Parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add another ¼ teaspoon salt depending on the saltiness of the pesto. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Allow to come to room temperature and if desired, add a pinch more salt. If the pasta salad seems dry, add a dollop of sour cream, mayo or pesto to revive the creamy texture.).
  • Category: Side dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Pesto pasta salad, pesto pasta salad recipe, pasta salad with pesto

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Tomato Peach Burrata Salad

Are your garden tomatoes ripe yet? If so, we’ve got the perfect way for you to use them up! You have to make this Tomato Peach Burrata Salad. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes and juicy ripe peaches! This salad screams summer!…

Are your garden tomatoes ripe yet? If so, we’ve got the perfect way for you to use them up! You have to make this Tomato Peach Burrata Salad. It is one of my favorite ways to enjoy fresh tomatoes and juicy ripe peaches! This salad screams summer! Arrange the beautiful tomatoes and peaches on a…

Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon feta salad is the ultimate fresh summer treat! Sweet melon with salty cheese is laid back and perfect for…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

Watermelon feta salad is the ultimate fresh summer treat! Sweet melon with salty cheese is laid back and perfect for the season.

Watermelon feta salad

Here’s the best recipe for when watermelon is in season, hands down: Watermelon Feta Salad! This classic combination of sweet juice melon and salty cheese is one of summer’s great pleasures. This summer salad has grown to massive popularity in recent years, and for good reason: it’s fast and easy to make, and has a lazy, laid-back vibe that screams flip flops, pool parties, and picnics.

What is watermelon feta salad?

Watermelon feta salad combines fresh cubed watermelon with feta cheese, and is often topped with olive oil or a quick vinaigrette. The origin of this salad may be Egyptian in origin, and it’s consumed in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.

Why it works? It’s a refreshing dish for hot weather, and highlights the pairing of sweet fruit with salty cheese, an age old tradition in these cuisines. So while you may see it all over Pinterest: no, it was not invented by social media influencers!

Watermelon feta salad

Ingredients for watermelon feta salad

This watermelon feta salad recipe was the very first recipe we ever wrote for this website, back in August 2010. So much has changed since then, of course. But this salad recipe has grown massively in popularity! You’ll often see this type of recipe at summer potlucks and cookouts. Some recipes use a quick vinaigrette to dress the watermelon, but we like a simple drizzle of olive oil. Here are the watermelon feta salad ingredients:

  • Ripe watermelon
  • Feta cheese
  • Fresh herbs: basil or mint
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

The best part of this concept is you barely need to measure. Cube the watermelon, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with herbs. It’s that easy! We prefer the fresh bite of a watermelon feta mint salad, but it’s nearly as delicious with fresh basil.

How to find a ripe melon (important!)

Because this watermelon feta salad is so simple, it’s important that you buy the best quality ingredients. An unripe watermelon tastes bitter and flat: not at all what you need for this salad! Here’s how to select a great ripe fruit:

  • Shop in watermelon season. It’s the only sure way we’ve found to get a great fruit.
  • Look for the field spot. Most watermelons should have a patch on the bottom, which is where they were resting on the ground before being picked. If the patch is yellow, the watermelon is ripe (if it’s white, it’s unripe).
  • Look for a watermelon that feels heavy for its size. That means there’s lots of juice inside! Honestly this one is hard to assess in the grocery, but keep it in mind when you’re shopping.
Watermelon feta mint salad

Buying the best feta cheese

Equally as important is the feta cheese you purchase. Skip the pre-crumbled stuff, and go for a block of full-fat feta cheese. This kind of feta has the best flavor, and it’s most like the feta served in Greece.

You also want to avoid feta that’s made from cow’s milk, as that’s not true feta. It crumbles more easily, which isn’t what you want. Feta from Greece has incredible flavor if you can find it! We’ve been able to locate Greek feta at our local grocery store.

Storage and make ahead instructions

This watermelon feta salad is best freshly made, so we have a few tips for making it ahead:

  • Cut the watermelon and store it separately. Cut watermelon releases a lot of liquid. So the best way to make this salad in advance is to cut the watermelon into cubes and store it separately. Then make up the salad right before serving.
  • Leftovers store up to 2 days. However, this salad is sub-optimal as leftovers because it releases so much juice. It does work, but it’s better for laid back lunches than impressing dinner guests.
Watermelon feta salad

Variations on watermelon feta salad

There are lots of variations on watermelon feta salad, swapping in different cheeses, herbs, and dressings. Here are a few options:

  • Mint and lime: This Watermelon Mint Salad is a favorite variation! Add lime juice and mint, and skip the feta entirely.
  • Cucumber: Add cucumber for Watermelon Cucumber Salad. The cooling veggie pairs well with melon.
  • Onion: Add red onion slivers or minced shallot for a hint of savory spice
  • Baby arugula: Add baby arugula for a fluffy texture

More watermelon recipes

Watermelon feta salad is one of our top ideas for using this summery melon! But there are many more great ways to use this summer fruit. Here are some top watermelon recipes to try next:

This recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, go to Watermelon Salad with Mint.

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Watermelon feta salad

Watermelon Feta Salad


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Description

Watermelon feta salad is the ultimate fresh summer treat! Sweet melon with salty cheese is laid back and perfect for the season.


Ingredients

  • 8 cups cubed ripe seedless watermelon (5 pounds or 1/2 medium watermelon)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 basil or 6 mint leaves, minced
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, for garnish
  • Fresh ground black pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. Chop the watermelon and arrange it on a platter. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with feta crumbles, basil or mint, and kosher salt. Add lemon zest or black pepper if desired.
  2. Serve immediately. If making ahead, refrigerate the cubed watermelon separately: it releases a large amount of water after it is cut. Then assemble the salad right before serving. Leftovers store for up to 2 days.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Salad
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Watermelon feta salad, watermelon feta mint salad

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Roasted Carrots with Basil & Carrot Top Pesto

Roasting carrots brings out their natural sweetness; when topped with a tangy pesto made with the parsley-like carrot tops (just say no to food waste!) it makes for a perfect seasonal side dish. The feathery carrot greens are blended with sweet basil, pine nuts, olive oil and vinegar to make a tangy green sauce that’s […]

The post Roasted Carrots with Basil & Carrot Top Pesto first appeared on Love and Olive Oil.

Roasting carrots brings out their natural sweetness; when topped with a tangy pesto made with the parsley-like carrot tops (just say no to food waste!) it makes for a perfect seasonal side dish.

The feathery carrot greens are blended with sweet basil, pine nuts, olive oil and vinegar to make a tangy green sauce that’s a perfect compliment to the natural flavor and sweetness of the carrots.

Blue and white ceramic platter with pile of Roasted Carrots, drizzled with Basil and Carrot Top Pesto on a blue background.

We’ve been getting big beautiful bundles of carrots in our CSA lately, vibrantly orange and sweet, with plumes of feathery greens still attached that I hate to just throw away (yes, they’re edible just like beet greens or turnip greens). Add in bunches of fragrant sweet basil that came with our most recent share, and this recipe basically developed itself.

If you haven’t had them before, carrot greens have an earthy, parsley-like flavor that can be used in myriad different ways, including this unique and flavorful pesto-like green sauce. It’s somewhat similar to the carrot top pesto I served with this creamy carrot soup; the flavors of the sweet carrot and grassy pesto are perfect compliments to each other. You know what they say, if they grow together, they go together (actually, I don’t know anyone who says that, but in this case it totally fits).

(more…)

Caprese Sandwich

This Caprese sandwich is a stunning crowd pleaser! Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto aioli for a splash of flavor. What’s…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This Caprese sandwich is a stunning crowd pleaser! Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto aioli for a splash of flavor.

Caprese Sandwich

What’s better than the classic combination of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil? Not much, in our opinion. So try this summery delight: the Caprese sandwich! This riff on the classic Italian salad from Capri layers the classic ingredients as a sandwich filling, with an irresistibly creamy, pesto aioli that adds a pop of savory brightness to each bite. It’s the perfect idea for an easy no-cook summer dinner, picnics, and more. When our son Larson tried a bite, he said, “Can we eat this every day?” We felt the same!

Ingredients in a Caprese sandwich

A Caprese sandwich is a sandwich that uses the ingredients in the classic Italian Caprese salad: tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil. There are many variations on this concept, sometimes using arugula, balsamic vinegar, or other spreads to embellish the sandwich. The traditional Italian version of Caprese salad doesn’t use balsamic vinegar or reduction and we don’t think the flavor pairs correctly, so you won’t need that here. For this recipe, we’ve used our fan-favorite pesto aioli as a creamy spread that adds a pop of savory flavor to each bite.

Here’s what you’ll need for this Caprese sandwich:

  • Ciabatta bread or other artisan bread: This Italian bread is soft and perfect for sandwiches! Steer clear of a French baguette, which can be tough to bite through. Any other type of artisan bread works!
  • Ripe tomatoes: This is a must! This sandwich only works with the ripest, juiciest tomatoes, much like a good BLT.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese: Purchase it in an 8 ounce ball and slice off slices for the sandwich.
  • Fresh basil: All you need is a handful of leaves per sandwich.
  • Baby arugula: Arugula adds a bit of texture and flavor variation. Make sure to buy baby arugula in a box or bag, which has a feathery texture and milder flavor. Avoid mature arugula that’s sold in bunches: the flavor is too strong.
  • Pesto aioli: This is the kicker! The pesto aioli blends basil, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and lemon juice and absolutely makes the sandwich. Do not leave it out!
Caprese Sandwich

Tips for making the pesto aioli

The key to any good sandwich? A great sandwich spread. You absolutely cannot have a dry sandwich with unseasoned bread. Here, the pesto aioli adds just the right creaminess and seasoning to the entire sandwich. Here’s what to know about the pesto aioli:

  • Use a large or small food processor. A small blender would also work.
  • It works for several sandwiches. The quantity you’ll end up with is 10 tablespoons, so depending on how much you use it should work for 3 to 4 sandwiches.
  • You can make it in advance and store refrigerated. Keep in mind, the color does fade slightly over time.
Caprese Sandwich

Make ahead for a Caprese sandwich

This Caprese sandwich is perfect for a picnic: but does it hold up over time? Yes! Some sandwiches get soggy over time, but this one holds up well. However, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  • Spread each bread side with pesto aioli and have a layer of arugula and basil over each. This protects the bread from direct contact with the tomato or mozzarella, which can make it soggy.
  • If serving within 2 hours, refrigeration is not needed. The mayo in the sandwich spread should be refrigerated after 2 hours.
  • Otherwise, wrap and refrigerate or keep in a cooler until serving. The bread does become tougher when refrigerated, so allow the sandwich to come to room temperature before serving if possible.

Alternate method

You can also make a Caprese sandwich as a panini or hot sandwich, like the Panera Caprese sandwich. Simply use sliced sandwich bread to build the sandwich. Then toast it in a panini press for 3 to 4 minutes, or grill in a grill pan or skillet for 2 minutes per side.

Caprese Sandwich

More Caprese themed foods

Caprese has become a shorthand for anything that stars tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Of course, nothing beats the classic Caprese salad, made the Italian way with a drizzle of great olive oil and salt. Here are a few variations on the theme:

This Caprese sandwich recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, serve on gluten-free bread.

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Caprese Sandwich

Caprese Sandwich


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 sandwich

Description

This Caprese sandwich is a stunning crowd pleaser! Layer tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto aioli for a splash of flavor.


Ingredients

For the sandwich

  • 2 slices ciabatta bread
  • 2 slices ripe tomato
  • 2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese (1 ounce)
  • 1 handful baby arugula
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons pesto aioli (see below)

For the pesto aioli (makes 10 tablespoons)

  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup high quality mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Make the pesto aioli: In a food processor, blend the garlic until roughly chopped. Add the basil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, salt and mayonnaise. Blend until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. (Store leftovers refrigerated for 2 weeks.)
  2. Season the tomato slices with a pinch of salt. On each slice of bread, slather the pesto aioli. Build the sandwich by layering half the arugula and basil, the tomato slices, mozzarella slices, more arugula and basil, and then the aioli-slathered bread. Enjoy immediately, or wrap and refrigerate until serving.
  • Category: Sandwich
  • Method: No Cook
  • Cuisine: Summer
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Caprese sandwich

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.