Kale is having its day. Kale Caesar salad is everywhere, and kale “pesto” is right behind it.
Rockport food blogger Heather Atwood says she is “happy for these kale updates, happy for anything vividly green and flavorful when basil and other fresh greens are not available.”
Kale is grown all year in many parts of the country, so it can often be found on a local farm, but the grocery store variations of kale work just as well, always vibrant and healthy when other green choices are not.
Pesto, the Genovese condiment that many of us have come to love, is a great way to brighten up everything from pasta to minestrone to a gourmet hamburger. The Italian version of pesto is made with basil and pine nuts. The term pesto comes from the Italian word “pestare,” which translates into “to pound or crush,” the traditional way to make pesto.
Much less expensive to produce, this kale adaptation of pesto has just as much power to brighten and elevate a dish as its Italian brother. Thanks to the vitamin-charged kale, this pesto is also a great way to toss an extra dose of “healthy” into a meal.
The earthy flavor of kale matches beautifully with walnuts, garlic and olive oil; Parmesan cheese is blended into the mixture, giving the pesto its trademark richness. Walnuts are a great lower-cost alternative to pine nuts in this recipe. A squeeze of lemon juice adds a dash of brightness.
Try making this kale pesto, traditional basil pesto or even a parsley pesto with almonds. Either way, you are sure to elevate your next pasta, soup or bruschetta to “super delicious and extra healthy,” says Atwood.
2 cups kale
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 lemon (squeezed)
1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1. Using a chef’s knife, cut the rib off the kale by folding the leaf in half. Discard the rib.
2. Give the kale a rough cut. Size and shape do not matter.
3. Place the kale, walnuts, garlic and cheese in a small- to medium-sized blender and pulse until the ingredients are mixed together.
4. Add the juice of about half a lemon. You do not need to add the whole half of lemon, but a good squeeze will suffice. Continue and add salt and pepper and blend again for 10 seconds (season to taste).
5. While blending, add a cup of olive oil and continue blending until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Recipe courtesy of Heather Atwood, 2013, who writes the blog Food for Thought at HeatherAtwood.com. Questions and comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.