Strawberry Caprese with Pistachio Pesto.

GUYS.

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It’s June.

It’s freaking June.

What is happening? Thanksgiving was over half a year ago. I almost have a 6 month old. I don’t know my head from my toes or how we got here. I feel like I took a nap in mid-December and just woke up. Whaaaaaaat.

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If it was necessary that I wake up from hibernation in 85+ degree weather, I guess I’m cool with June. It’s contents consist of some super exciting events like my mom’s birthday, my cousin’s birthday, my brother’s wedding (!!!!!!!!!!!) and, um, fresh garden tomatoes and basil.

Because that last one sounds really significant after the listed events.

Oh, but guess what. OMG. I planted herbs. You know this because I only talked about it for seven weeks before I did it (“blah-I’m-so-excited-to-plant-herbs-blah-blah!”) and then I did it and haven’t stopped talking about it since. No really, I snapchat watering my plants every single morning because I adore them annnnnd I’ve usually been wide awake for at least an hour. A few years ago Bev told me how to grow some herbs and I blew it. I’ve been afraid ever since but now? They are growing like WEEDS!

I mean. You know what I mean.

They are seriously growing. It’s only been two weeks and boom, I have food.

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Anyhoo, I got on that herb tangent because of the basil, because of the things I love about June, because I seriously just can’t believe it’s June. Oh hi, I’m boring and can only talk about time going so fast.

But it is. I thought that only happened to adults? I will never forget one December while my mom and I were making cookies – we lived in our “old” house, aka the house we lived in before the one I spent the majority of time in growing up. Christmas was right around the corner but I said “mom, I feel like Christmas was just last week!” I was probably only seven years old, which would explain why she looked at me wide eyed and said “only grown ups are supposed to feel that way!”

Wait. Am I a grown up now? I am looking around for other grown ups and it appears that right here, right now, I am the grown up. Ugh.

(Which truly means nothing since I’m watching full house while my infant snoozes next to me. Which, I supposed, would be a lot more scary if it actually still was 1992.)

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So since I’m a grown up and since I get excited about things like basil and tomatoes in the summer instead of fireworks and pool parties and beer pong, I made a deeeelish (so not a grown up word) salad that I can’t get enough of.

No really. Life right now is all about super fast things that don’t taste like super fast things. If you get my gist.

Tomatoes, strawberries, fresh mozzarella rounds – it kind of seems boring, right? Perhaps “boring” isn’t the right word, but it just seems too… easy? Yes. Too easy.

It really is too easy! YEP.

But I swear. One you make some pistachio pesto and smother is on this salad – or rather – this bowl of tomatoes and strawberries and cheese, it transforms the entire thing.

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It’s embarrassingly cliché and not the least bit unpredictable to tell you that we eat some form of caprese salad a few times week for the entire summer. It’s one of the only simple salads that I can call a meal. It’s one of the simple salads with such few ingredients that I deem necessary and filling and satisfying.

And no, it’s not just because I eat an entire ball of fresh mozzarella. But maybe once every now and then that could be why.

It’s just that perfect combination of flavors. Tastes like summer. Looks like summer. You can add in an ear (or three) of grilled corn and you have a legit feast.

Also, can I tell you how I tricked Eddie into eating this even though he “doesn’t really care for” pistachios? UH HUH. I told him I made a strawberry caprese salad with pesto buuuuut oh-so conveniently left out what kind of pesto it was.

He ate it.

He loved it.

I win.

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Strawberry Caprese with Pistachio Pesto

Ingredients:

12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
12 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved
8 ounces fresh ciliegine mozzarella balls (usually comes in an 8-ounce container)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
a handful of fresh basil leaves

pistachio pesto
1 cup shelled pistachios
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the mozzarella, strawberries and tomatoes. Season with the salt and the pepper and toss well. Toss in the fresh basil leaves. Add a few spoonfuls of the pesto and toss gently with a spatula to evenly distribute it. Serve immediately!

pistachio pesto
Place the pistachios, basil, mint, garlic and cheese in a food processor. Pulse and blend until the nuts are coarsely chopped, then with the processor on, stream in 1/3 cup of olive oil. Add a little more if necessary, depending on how "spreadable" you want your pesto to be. I don't mind mine a little thicker, but it means you will have to thoroughly toss the tomatoes and berries a but more. Taste the pesto and add in the salt, blending once more. This will make a little extra pesto than needed, so store it sealed tightly in the fridge for up to a week.

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yes yes yes.