Indoor Garden Party With Arugula Pesto Caprese Wraps
It doesn't matter where you live or how brutal (or kind) the winter has treated you - everyone loves Spring. Warmer breezes, longer days, the sprouting of new life...Yes! Spring is the perfect excuse to celebrate with an impromptu party filled with fresh style and bites.
Besides, I love nothing more than another reason to put on yet happy hour at home! Be it Friday night tapas for just me and my mister, or rounding up a few friends to enjoy the sunset and a glass of wine on my front stoop - 'Tis the season to spring up some spirited gatherings, amiright?!
Wait...Did I hear you just get stressed out?!
Parties don't always have to be an extravagant affair, just a thoughtful expression and appreciation of time with company. So let's look into the idea of small scale (yet stylish!) entertaining by throwing an intimate and spring appropriate indoor garden gathering that is perfect for pint-size spaces and last minute prepping. Meaning, this is a low stress party you can totally throw this weekend (or tonight for that matter).
So, get that email invite ready because you're about three steps away from having some guests at your door!
#1: Self service = Less stress
Don't worry about arranging a sit down dinner - this is happy hour! Create a side table that acts as center stage (I've been known to use the top of a credenza, kitchen bar or bookshelf if needed). Arrange a drink station with a pre-made punch cocktail alongside finger foods. Guests can serve themselves as they wish and you won't have to stress about running around more than you have to. You're throwing a party - once the door opens, focus on your guests and nothing else!
Bonus Points: Finger foods mean less dish washing. Win!
#2: Simple details that feel special
Sprout a modern indoor garden by pulling together your house plants to form clusters in two and threes of varying heights. Add fresh cut branches and flowers from the yard (or flower shop) to fill the spread - don't forget to add the greenery and blooms onto your serving platers too! No plants? No problem. Run out to your local nursery and grab a few new greens along with some inexpensive cement pots.
Looking to add texture? Forget the store bought linens and get creative at your craft store's fabric bin by combining multiple patterns in a complimentary cooler-toned palette (along with some wood serving pieces) to add sophistication to this otherwise earthy spread.
Bonus Points: Most plants cost less than a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store and you can always send them home as gifts if you're not up to the green thumb'ed responsibilities.
#3: Stylish snacks in a snap
Take the party theme even further by serving up a mini edible garden tower. Simple, yet quality ingredients, wrapped in a playful way will bring out the whimsy while saving you time. These arugula pesto caprese wraps are as adorable as they are delicious + easy to assemble on the quick... especially if you do most of the prep the night before.
Serve these alongside extra pesto and top with spring-worthy basil blooms & micro leaves (which btw you should totally be growing a basil plant from your window herb box for this very reason - if you aren't already) for an extra punch of flavor that doubles as swoon worthy (and edible) eye candy.
Looking for more finger food options? Get creative with themini finger wrap concept - why not try a playful spin on a high tea classic and roll up a turmeric egg salad number with spicy watercress...or what about an unexpected interpretation of a Bánh mì packed with pickled veg and tofu!? The combos are endless...which I suppose means you'll just need to throw more spring parties, won't you?! YAY!
Bonus Points: If you have an extra 5 minutes - Turn boring toothpicks into beauts by wrapping the ends with colorful twine. It's a tiny detail that makes the bland feel a little extra special.
Mini Arugula Pesto Caprese Wraps
Makes 16 mini finger wraps
1 package of
2 large english cucumbers
8 cherry tomatoes
8 ciliegine fresh mozzarella (cherry sized balls)
aprox 1/4 cup *arugula pesto
micro basil leaves & blooms to garnish
*Arugula Pesto Ingredients
4 cups baby arugula
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
juice of two lemons
Side note: this recipe makes more pesto then you will need for the wraps - because you'll want to then add onto a flatbread pizza or sandwich later in the week. No really, Trust me!
To prepare the pesto, add all dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse on high until finely chopped, add lemon juice and olive oil in small increments and continue to pulse until smooth. This can be made up to 2 days in advance if refrigerated in a sealed container.
Set your mandoline to a very thin setting (approximately 1/16 inch) and carefully slice strips of cucumber and set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Prep the cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella by slicing them in half (or quarters depending on size) and sprinkling with fresh cracked pepper (these steps can be done the night before if needed).
To assemble wraps, cut each flatbread into strips, approximately the same width as your cucumber slice. Start by spreading a thin layer of pesto on cucumber and place tomato & fresh mozzarella on the very end of the strip, rolling carefully into a vegetable wrap. Next Place vegetable wrap on the bottom end of the flatbread strip and carefully roll the next outer layer into place, secure with a cocktail pick and garnish with additional pesto, basil leaves and blooms.
The perfect spring party pulled together in about an hour?! Woop! As crazy as it sounds - that is what happy hour entertaining is all about (no matter the season).
Small scale gatherings should always bring you as much joy as your guests, so keep things simple (yet seasonal) on the prep so you can focus on other details of party throwing ... like which playlist you've been obsessing to debut.
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