Today was a pretty chill, laid-back Sunday for our family. The best kind, if you ask me. My mom generously took our kids overnight last night, so my husband and I got to have dinner at the fabulous Wrigley Mansion, a Phoenix landmark since 1932, and sleep in this morning. It was kind of shocking how late we were able to sleep without the kids running around/arguing/informing us about poopy Pullups. (Anybody have a sure-fire solution for nighttime potty training a 3-year-old?) Anyway, the two of us went out for a late breakfast, which we almost never do–partly because we rarely eat out with kids and partly because I have a thing about brunch. I hate it. Seriously, it ruins my whole day. I’m the kind of person who wants to get up and eat something light and drink my coffee pretty much immediately. Brunch basically flies in the face of these desires. You have to do your hair and get dressed, get in your car and drive somewhere, order and wait until they bring out your food. Then you always, ALWAYS eat way more than you normally would and at lunchtime you still feel full and kinda gross but you want to eat. So you eat lunch and you feel even more over-full and gross. See where this is going? Whole day shot. You’re dead to me, brunch.
Still, despite my issue with brunch, our day was a pleasant one. After we picked the kids up from Grandma’s we went on a family outing to Ikea, where we got some fun stuff for the house, then went to Guitar Center, where the kids enjoyed jamming on the 95 keyboards they have stacked in one room. But even after skipping out on the meatballs and lingonberry sauce my family had for lunch at Ikea, those lemon ricotta pancakes I had at brunch still hung like dead weight in my stomach. Thankfully, our plans for dinner were the definition of light: this super-simple pesto pasta and bean salad. Yay!
If there was ever a straightforward, what-you-see-is-what-you-get salad, this is it. I love it for its simplicity, its quick prep time, and its healthful vegetarian ingredients. It would make a great side to tote to a summertime potluck–but for our family, served with a side of crusty bread, this is plenty for a modest dinner!
Pesto Pasta and Bean Salad
(Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
8 oz. whole wheat penne or other small pasta
1 7-oz. container purchased basil pesto (or make your own)
1/4 c. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 c. arugula
2 oz. Parmesan/Reggiano cheese, shaved
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, make dressing by combining pesto, red wine vinegar, and salt in a large bowl. Add cooked pasta, beans, and arugula and stir gently to combine. Top with shaved cheese.
Makes about 8 cups.