Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

I’m an Italian girl with Mediterranean taste buds so when summer rolls around pesto comes into the forefront of my culinary rotation. Pesto is so easy to make and can be played with endlessly. My little urban garden is currently overflowing with at least four varieties of heirloom kale and a gal can only eat so many kale chips, eat so many kale salads, and drink so many kale smoothies before she gets kale’d out. The solution to my kale fatigue? You guessed it, presto pesto!

Kale Almond Pest

My kale pesto has the same umami goodness of a more traditional recipe, but with a little extra kick from the bittersweet taste profile of this blend of kale leaves. I used a mix of laccinato, curly, and a purple-stemmed kale whose name I don’t know but you can use whatever looks fresh and delicious. If you don’t have almonds, pine nuts or walnuts work well too.


I quadrupled this recipe to make 4 quarts, which are now sitting frozen in my freezer for a crazy week when I don’t have the time to cook. These will stay fresh for up to 3 months when frozen, but I wouldn’t leave them sitting for more than a week in your refrigerator. Enjoy with eggs, grains like farro or quinoa, and of course on pasta. Green goodness in a jar – what more could you want from a summer haul!


Kale-Almond Pesto

(yields one quart)



  • 6 heaping handfuls of kale (I used 22 leaves de-stemmed)
  • Juice and zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds


  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until it’s an even consistency.
  2. Scrape contents into a wide mouth mason jar.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

MOARfit’s Spring Guide to Seasonal Eating in the DC Area

Seasonal eating is something we should all strive for no matter where we live, how much time we have, or the resources we have at our disposal. We will not always succeed in sourcing all of our food from our own back yard or local farmers’ markets—certainly not in the winter months in most places!—but we can commit to trying.

Why is this important? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Seasonal foods are picked at the peak of freshness and offer greater nutrient-density than most out-of-season fruits and vegetables. The less distance a food has to travel the more those nutrients stay intact. When you eat with the seasons, you will naturally enjoy a broader diversity of foods, providing your body with a wider variety of important vitamins and minerals needed to maintain a healthy body and mind.

From the planet’s perspective, eating with the seasons reduces the number of miles your food has to travel before it hits your plate. This helps cut back on its carbon footprint thereby reducing pollution and contributing less to climate change. A lot of local food is also produced under organic conditions (whether certified or not)—i.e. no toxic pesticides or fertilizers—which is better for your health and that of the soil in which foods are grown.

Finally, when you buy locally grown foods in season, you help provide financial support to the farmers in your area—which helps to grow your local economy! Also, your wallet will thank you since seasonal foods are often priced lower than out of season foods, which have to compensate for transport costs.

So, what’s in season here in the DMV? Ask and ye shall receive:


MOARfit by Amy Rizzotto Spring Guide to Seasonal Eating in DC

(Um, how gorgeous are these local watermelon radishes??)



Asparagus . Beets . Collard Greens . Spinach . Swiss Chard .

KaleMushrooms . Onions . Radishes . Turnips . Squash



For a complete list, see FreshFarm Market’s PDF.


MOARfit by Amy Rizzotto Spring Guide to Seasonal Eating in DC

And I can’t leave you without a handy list of DMV Farmers’ Markets:



Bloomingdale Farmers’ Market

102 R St NW (b/t N 1st St & N Florida Ave NW)

Sunday 10am-2pm, May – November


Eastern Market Farmers’ Market

225 7th St SE

Tuesdays 3 – 7pm, year round


Dupont Circle Freshfarm Market

Dupont Circle 1500 20th St NW

Sundays 9am – 2pm, year round


H Street Farmers’ Market

625 H Street NE

Saturdays 9am – 12pm, April – November


USDA Farmers’ Market

12th St & Independence Ave SW

Fridays 10am – 2pm, June – November


White House FreshFarm Market

810 Vermont Ave NW

Thursdays 11am – 2:30pm April – October


Glover Park-Burleith Farmers Market

Hardy Middle School parking lot, 1819 35th Street NW

Saturdays 9am – 1pm May – November


Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 9-1, April 6-December 21

Special Note: As of right now, the Mount Pleasant Farmers’ Market is set to remain closed due to lack of permits. Let local DC government know if you want this market to re-open!


Columbia Heights Farmers’ Market

Civic Plaza 14th St & Park Rd NW

Saturdays 9am – 1pm, May – December


14th and U Street Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 9am – 1pm, May – November


Penn Quarter Farmers’ Market

8th St NW

Thursdays 3 – 7pm, March – December


Broad Branch Farmers’ Market

Lafayette Elementary School parking lot, Broad Branch Rd & Northampton NW

Saturday 9am – 1pm, year round


DOT Farmers’ Market

301 M St, SE

Tuesday 11am – 2pm, May – November


Capital Harvest on the Plaza

Friday 11am – 3pm, opening date TBA


Palisades Farmers’ Market

48th Pl NW MacArthur Blvd

Sunday 9am – 1pm, year round


Adams Morgan Farmers’ Market

Columbia Rd and 18th St NW

June – December


Foggy Bottom FreshFarm Market

I Street Mall walkway between 23rd and 24th streets NW (Foggy Bottom Metro)

Wednesdays 3 – 7 pm, April – November



15th St NW and P St NW

First Saturday of the month 11am – 5pm, April – November



Silver Spring Farmers Market

Ellsworth Dr. b/t Fenton St & Georgia Ave

Saturdays 10am – 1pm January – March, 9am – 1pm April – December


Takoma Park Farmers Market

Laurel Ave, Takoma Park

Sundays 10am – 2pm, year round


Olney Farmers and Artist Market

Rt 108 & Prince Phillip Dr, MedStar Hospital Thrift Shop Grounds

Sundays 9am – 1pm, May – November


Annapolis Farmers Market

Donner Parking Lot, Compromise St

Sundays 8:30am – 12pm, Opens in May


Potomac Village Farmers Market

Parking lot of the Potomac United Methodist Church, 9808 S Glen Rd

Thursdays 2 – 6:30pm, May-October (and sometimes November)


Bethesda Central Farm Market

7600 Arlington Blvd

Sundays 9am – 1pm, year round


Rockville Farmers Market

Corner of Route 28 and Monroe Street

Saturdays 9am – 1pm, May – November



City of Falls Church Farmers Market

30 Park Ave

Saturdays 8am – 12pm, April-December; 9am – 12pm January – March


Arlington Farmers Market

Intersection of N Courthouse Rd & N 14th St

Saturdays 8am – 12pm, April – December; 9am – 12pm January – March


Ballston Farmers Market

901 N Taylor St

Thursdays time TBD, May – October


Old Town Alexandria Farmers Market

Market Square, 301 King St

Saturdays 7am – 12pm, year round


Frying Pan Farmers Market

2709 W Ox Rd, Herndon, Va, 20171

Wednesdays May-October


Crystal City Farmers Market

Crystal Dr b/t 18th St and 20th St in Crystal City

Tuesdays 3 – 7pm, April – November


Reston Farmers Market

1609 Washington Plaza, N Lake Anne Village Center

Saturdays 8am – 12pm, May – November


Vienna Farmers Market

Faith Baptist Church Parking Lot, 301 Center St South

Saturdays 8am – 12pm, May – October


McLean Farmers Market

1659 Chain Bridge Rd

Fridays 8am -12pm, May – November


McCutcheon/Mount Vernon Farmers Market

Wednesdays 8am -12 pm, May – Dec


 [Source: Bright Young Things]

A 3-Course Valentine’s Day Meal that’s Truly Good for the Heart

There is a lot of hype around Valentine’s Day. Guys, I’m going to throw you a bone here, you have it rough. Many of us ladies expect you to plan something romantic, original and surprising. That’s a lot of pressure! And, if you’re the kind that likes to go out and chip away at Washingtonian’s Top 100 list or the DC Eater Heatmap, chances are you’re looking at elusive reservations and pricey checks.

In lieu of all the production and planning, dare I suggest you…eat at home? A homemade meal enjoyed in the comfort of your own home might just be the most unique and thoughtful gastronomic gesture of all. Better yet, you’ll be healthier, richer and experience way more intimacy than if you were squished into banquette seating with hoards of other couples out on the town.

To help get those culinary creative juices flowing, here are three of my favorite heart-healthy and delicious recipes perfect for a party of two “prix fixe menu”.


Starter: Plum, Kale and Feta Salad


Heart-healthy ingredient: Kale. Kale is rich in lutein, a compound recently linked to preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).


Main: Apple Pecan Butter Salmon, Sriracha-Maple Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes 


Heart-healthy ingredient: Salmon. Salmon is an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and reduce inflammation in blood vessels.


Dessert: Gluten Free Strawberry Balsamic Tart

Gluten Free Strawberry Balsamic Tart

Heart-healthy ingredient: Strawberry. Strawberries contain heart-healthy essentials fiber, potassium and antioxidants, and are naturally fat, sodium and cholesterol-free.


Kale Salad with Honey-Chipotle Dressing

In honor of National Kale Day, not only did I have kale in my smoothie this morning but I thought I’d share my favorite kale salad recipe (originally posted back in January). Some may think it’s like putting lipstick on a pig, but I think the right dressing makes raw kale salad palatable for anybody and everybody.The Honey-Chipotle Dressing I created for this kale salad is sweet, smoky goodness. Bonus, it is even better the next day so you can plan to take any left-overs (if there are any!) to work.

Kale, as you may have learned from my Kale Caesar Salad, Honey-Ginger Kale with Carrots, and Sweet Sesame Raw Kale Salad posts, is a supergreen and an excellent source of vitamins A and K, calcium, and disease-fighting antioxidants. If you’ve never made a raw kale salad, fall–when you can get this dark, leafy green in abundance from your local farmers’ market–is the time to give it a try. It’s easy, delicious, affordable and will help fortify your immune system against seasonal sicknesses like the cold and flu.

Kale Salad with Honey-Chipotle Dressing

Best Kale Salad

What You’ll Need:

(for the dressing)

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 Chili in Adobo sauce
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

(for the salad)

  • 2 bunches (or about 6-8 cups chopped) kale
  • 3/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds


  1. Mix all salad dressing ingredients together in your blender.
  2. Chop, wash and dry your kale–removing any of the really thick, woody stems. Add it to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Pour dressing over kale and massage into the leaves for a minute, or until well coated.
  4. Cover and let it refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours before you plan to eat (like I said, it is great the next day!)
  5. When you’re ready to serve, remove it from the refrigerator and add your cranberries and almonds (goat cheese would also go well if you’re so inclined).

Plum, Kale and Feta Salad

To me, a grilled or sautéed fruit salad with fresh, dark leafy greens and local, melt-in-your mouth cheese is a birthday gift all in itself–hopefully my friend Jeanine agreed because that’s what she got for her big day this year.

Technically I flambéed the fruit instead of sautéeing, but that was a fun, scary and somewhat over-my-head cooking technique that I might not recommend to my broader audience.

It all started when I received some gorgeous prune plums in my from the farmer basket last week…

And then, I saw my butter sitting, bored, out on the counter (where it should be, in my opinion, much of the time) and my vermouth coyly eyeing me up from across the bar. Just like that, an idea was born – (cooked) Plum, Kale and Feta Salad! I love how culinary creativity works. You look around at what you have and you see if maybe, just maybe, those ingredients could be combined to form something truly delicious.

I knew right away what I would do with the plums – a little butter and sweet alcohol go a long way with these guys – but I new I’d have to balance out the sweetness with some bitter, creamy and salty notes. In comes the dino kale, which I find a bit more tasty but still as nutritious as curly kale; domestic feta, which I got from my favorite online grocery store Relay Foods that is ideal for when convenience takes precedence (and where you can save $30 on your first order of $50 or more); and some toasted pine nuts and mint for some texture and brightness.


Plum, Kale and Feta Salad with Fresh Mint and Pine Nuts

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 pint of prune plums (or 3 medium purple plums), pitted and quartered
  • 4 cups of dino kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup fresh feta cubes
  • 1 Tbs unsalted, organic butter
  • 2-3 Tbs (a “splash”) sweet vermouth
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts


How to Make It:

  1. Melt butter is a sauté pan over medium heat until it starts to brown but not burn. Add cut plums to your pan and turn the heat up to medium-high for 1-2 minutes. Add a splash of sweet vermouth (any sweet wine or aperitif would work in a pinch). Cook about another minute, or until the liquid is pretty close to completely evaporated. Remove prunes from pan and let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together kale, lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper. Massage the kale for a minute to work the dressing into the leaves.
  3. Combine the kale and plums together, cover, and set it in the fridge until ready to serve.
  4. Once it’s party time, add your toasted pine nuts, shredded mint leaves and feta cubes (I like this and all cheese at room temperature). Give it a good mix and enjoy!

If you want to look forward to getting gorgeous baskets of fresh produce each week and want to save 20% off your first 4 deliveries, sign up for From the Farmer and use code “MOARfit” at checkout.

Christmas Came Early to the MOARfit Kitchen!

For years I’ve wanted to get on board with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program but have always found an excuse–I travel too much, the food will go to waste, I only cook for one, etc. I love the farm-to-table movement and I fully understand the importance of supporting locally grown, healthy fresh produce. By doing so you reduce your carbon footprint, support small farmers and, if you haven’t tried food fresh from the soil that hasn’t had to travel by land, air and sea to reach your plate, it also tastes better.

This May, my excuses ran out and a golden opportunity to dive into the farm-to-front-door movement arose that I couldn’t resist. As you may know, MOARfit is now partnered with Yoga Heights, the yoga studio and wellness center I co-own here in Washington, DC. I’m offering my health coaching services to our awesome community with one-on-one nutrition consultations, seasonal group detoxes and educational workshops (details on our website). This partnership has recently turned into a triple threat as we’ve partnered with the stellar people over at From the Farmer. Their approach, passion and product hooked me instantaneously. The proof’s in the picture. Check out my amazing first bounty of goodies below.

From the Farmer Basket

If you live in DC, you should give it a try. Here’s why:

  • Each week From the Farmer hand selects what’s local, most delicious and in-season and deliver it right to your door, stoop or apartment complex;
  • Even better, you can customize your basket each week so you receive what you want and decrease the likelihood you’ll waste any beautiful food;
  • AND you can even suspend your baskets on a week-by-week basis if you know you’ll be out of town one weekend or have a bunch of social events lined up that will keep you from your kitchen.

They’ve made it so easy. With all our busy schedules it should be a no brainer when ease and health go hand-in-hand. Not yet sold? Use code MOARfit at checkout and you’ll save 20% on your first 4 deliveries. I go with a half bushel and it’s easily enough fresh fruits and veggies for two busy working professionals for the week.


Their philosophy is simple: be local, passionate, sustainable, and connected. And when they say local, they mean local. All of their farm partners and artisanal producers reside within 150 miles of DC. I can’t wait to go and see where the food comes from first-hand one of these days!


The weekly produce has been inspiring me to be more creative with my cooking and to keep it simple so as to showcase these fresh ingredients in all their flavorful glory. From baked tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and stuffed with fresh herbs to a gluten-free strawberry balsamic tart with mint (recipe coming soon!), these farm fresh goodies are bringing out my culinary A-game!

Tomatoes in a Bowl

Get on board and celebrate summer with tasty, real food all the while doing your part to support family-owned businesses and locally grown produce!

Kale Caesar Salad for your Meatless Monday (V) (GF)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Kale is where it’s at. All my fellow health-seekers out there already know the deal, but if you haven’t heard the good word on this super-veggie, listen up. Like its cruciferous cousins in the brassicacaea (say that three times fast) family—bok choy, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage—kale contains high concentrations of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, important for safeguarding those peepers, and Vitamin K, essential for bone health and blood clotting. It is also a rockstar when it comes to phytochemicals and essential minerals like magnesium and calcium, which are especially crucial for us gals as we age and start to lose bone density. All of these healthy bits and pieces combined make Kale a key food in diets geared towards cancer prevention.

Clearly, this isn’t my first kale rodeo—exhibit A: Honey Ginger Carrots and Kale, and more recently, exhibit B: Lentil, Barley and Kale Soup—but my latest attempt to keep kale interesting and appealing is a winner for worker-bees in search of a healthy packed lunch. Top it off with some roasted chicken or your favorite type of beans and you’ve got a satisfying meal that will keep you full and energized all the live long day!


Kale Caesar Salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 6 cups chopped organic kale (bulky stems removed)
  • Roasted Garlic “Caesar” Dressing:
    • 1 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
    • 1 tbs capers
    • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
    • 3 tbs olive oil
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • 1 1/2 cups spinach
    • 1 small head roasted garlic (plus 1 tsp olive oil for roasting)
    • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It:

  1. Garlic first. Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel off the outer layers of a whole garlic bulb but leave the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off the top quarter of the garlic heads, exposing as many cloves as possible. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the exposed cloves and massage to coat. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.
  2. While the garlic is roasting, clean kale leaves thoroughly and pat dry. Remove woody stems and rough chop into bite size pieces.
  3. In a small food processor, blend together anchovy paste, capers, Dijon mustard, olive oil, lemon, spinach and roasted garlic (note: use a small fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins). Taste for saltiness and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. In a large bowl, pour dressing over kale and massage for a minute until all leaves are coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to overnight.
  5. Serve with a wedge of lemon and an extra dose of freshly ground pepper.

Lentil, Barley, and Kale Soup (Meatless Monday)

Lentils, a member of the legume family, should be a staple in everyone’s cupboard–especially for you vegans and vegetarians. These little earthy pillows are an excellent source of plant-based protein and have a lot of the vitamins and minerals that meat-abstainers often miss in their diet. A one-cup serving of lentils has only 230 calories, 16g of dietary fiber, 18g of protein, and 37% of the recommended daily intake for iron. This high soluble fiber content helps lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels.


Beyond the vast health benefits, lentils are cheap, easy to cook, and store forever. If you’re at a loss for what to do with them (aside from this recipe), check out the New York Times’ Martha Rose Shulman for some great ideas .


Lentil, Barley, and Kale Soup

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tbs vegan buttery spread (I like Earth Balance’s Soy-Free Buttery Spread)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • Juice of 1 lemon, plus 4 long strips of the peel
  • 2 1/2 cartons of reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese if you opting for a non-vegan version)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill

How to Make It:

  1. Add buttery spread (or real butter if you aren’t vegan), olive oil, onions and a pinch of salt to a slow-cooker and cover on high for 45min.
  2. Add garlic, turmeric, pepper, cayenne, and toasted sesame seeds (crushing them between your fingers as you sprinkle them in) and cook for another 15min on high.
  3. Add lentils, pearled barley, broth, lemon juice and strips of peel (you’ll remove these at the end).
  4. Layer 3 cups of chopped kale on top but don’t mix it in. Cover and turn to Low for 3-5 more hours.
  5. Turn off your slow-cooker. Remove lemon peels and adjust for seasoning to taste. Stop here if you plan to freeze half and save for later.
  6. When you are ready to serve, add nutritional yeast (or parmesan) and fresh dill to taste.

Serve this with a slice of my Saffron Fennel Bread for a hearty weeknight supper or an easy-to-pack work lunch.

Honey Ginger Carrots and Kale

Carrots and kale deliver a one-two nutritional punch packed with anti-inflammatory properties and potent antioxidants. Inflammation is at the root of much that harms and hurts us as we age, affecting everything from the skin and joints to  our cardiovascular health and risk of disease. Antioxidants are crucial internal warriors, fighting of damaging free radicals at the cellular level. Both veggies feature high concentrations of Vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, important for safeguarding those peepers, and Vitamin K, essential for bone health and blood clotting. Kale is also an excellent plant source of calcium, which is especially crucial for us ladies out there as we age.

This recipe makes for a great side dish to any meal. I served it alongside black rice cooked in green teach (antioxidant obsessed much?) and homemade, slow-cooker BBQ pork ribs.

Honey Ginger Carrots and Kale


What You’ll Need:

  • 4 cups kale, chopped (thicker stems removed)
  • 2 cups baby carrots, sliced thin
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 Tbs raw honey
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 Tbs toasted sesame seeds

How to Make It:

  1. In a large skillet, melt oils with honey over low heat. Stir in grated ginger and lemon juice.
  2. Stir in carrots and toss to coat. Increase heat to medium and cook 5 min until heated through.
  3. Add kale and cook another 5-7 min, covered and stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender but still bright and al dente.
  4. Add sesame seeds and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

Sweet Sesame Raw Kale Salad

If you’re reading my blog, chances are you know what kale is. Chances are even greater that you’re mildy obsessed with it. If this hasn’t happened yet, just you wait, pretty soon you’ll be buying the 2 lb big bag and putting this green goodness into anything you can think of–and for good reason!

Kale gets its emerald green hue from high levels of two disease-fighting carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin). These nutrients are part of the cellular makeup of your eye and help protect those peepers against harmful blue light and ultimately macular degeneration–the leading cause of eyesight loss in Americans over 60.

You like to see right? (Rhetorical question obviously.) Seriously though, go buy some kale and make this raw salad (or my kale chips) and do your part to protect that precious vision. Life is too beautiful not to see it through.

Sweet Sesame Raw Kale Salad


What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs sesame seed oil
  • 2 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, grated
  • 6 cups (or handfuls) curly kale, chopped

How to Make It:

  1. Mix all ingredients except kale in a mason jar (or any small container with a snug lid). Give the contents a good shake until combined.
  2. Put chopped kale (stems removed) in a large mixing bowl. Pour dressing on top and massage kale (yes, massage) for 1-2 min until thoroughly coated. (Manipulating the raw kale like this helps the dressing seep into the leaves, softening the kale and making it easier to digest.)
  3. Cover and let marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. I like to leave mine overnight.

BONUS TIP: this makes for a yummy dressing on just about any salad. Try it over cold soba noodles or shredded romaine with some raw cashews, blood orange segments, and lightly pan-fried tofu for a healthy vegetarian lunch.