Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Superfoods forever: Kale pesto recipe

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Kale pesto

I'm still in the throes of my love affair with kale. Man, I hope this one lasts a while. Every time I eat something with kale I feel all those vital nutrients seeping straight into my cells. I swear my skin looks better because of kale. Kale for breakfast, kale for lunch, kale for dinner. Kale in eggs, kale in smoothies, kale in soup, kale in salad, kale in quiche, kale on pizza. It's been all kale all the time over here for weeks.

I have my health coach Rachael Pontillo of Holistically Haute Wellness to thank for my crush on kale. We've been working together about three months now, and as a result I've made a few subtle (but, I hope, long-lasting) changes to my diet. I start the day with hot water spiked with lemon. I'm focusing on whole grains and avoiding white flour whenever possible. And I'm eating as many greens in a day as I used to eat in a week. All these are good things and will help me live forever. Right? Right.

I've used this kale pesto on pizza and on a grilled cheese sandwich. There might be pasta in my future, even though I'm trying to cut back on wheat. What do you think of alternative-grain pastas, like brown rice pasta? I've been hesitant to try non-wheat pasta - I worry it will be such a disappointment that I'll rebound and eat nothing BUT pasta for days on end. But I'm interested to hear your opinions.

By the way, I threw a bunch of radish tops into this pesto, too. Use what you have. Kale is friendly.

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Kale pesto
Kale makes friends easily with other greens and herbs, so use whatever you have - radish tops, parsley, chard, arugula. This pesto rocks on pizza, pasta, polenta, grilled cheese, or a spoon.
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan or curly kale, leaves stripped from stems and roughly chopped (4-6 cups)
  • 1-2 cups arugula, chard, radish leaves, parsley, cilantro, or whatever other greens you happen to have around (optional)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, Romano or Grana Padano cheese (optional, or substitute 2 tsp nutritional yeast)
  • 1 cup pine nuts, almonds or walnuts, toasted in a dry skillet until fragrant
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
Put the greens, lemon juice, salt, garlic, cheese (if using), and nuts in a food processor with the chopping blade. Turn the processor on and let it run about 10 seconds. Begin pouring the olive oil in through the feed tube. When you've added all the oil, let the processor run another 30 seconds or so, until the pesto is smooth. Store the pesto in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: approximately 2 cups


Sarah said...

I am so excited to try this because I usually think of making pesto only in the summer when there is an abundance of basil. Your enthusiasm for kale is contagious and now I want to be eating that much kale too. Keep the green recipes coming! Try Tinkyada pasta, it is wheat free and excellent, not mushy at all. I've also tried corn/quinoa pasta that is delicious and no one knew it was wheat/gluten free when I served it for dinner the first time. They still don't know, I haven't told them and they still eat it when I make it.

Chief Family Officer said...

I haven't personally tried them, but my friends tell me the brown rice pasta from Trader Joe's and corn pasta from Sprouts are both excellent. (And after the Sprouts report, I spotted corn pasta at TJ's too.) I'd love to know what *you* think!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I make bunches of cilantro pesto every summer because I have no restraint when it comes to growing cilantro. I will definitely give this a whirl next season because I don't have any restraint when it comes to planting kale either!

Geez Louise! said...

Even your skin looks better, that's awesome! I switch off kale one week, spinach the next. I try not to eat too much pasta period, but when I do I like the whole grain wheat pasta from Trader's- has the best flavor to me. You photo is lovely

Erika Kerekes said...

OK, I am going out today to buy some brown rice pasta - I need a Trader Joe's run anyway. Thanks @Chief Family Officer for the endorsement.

@Sarah where does one find the Tinkyada pasta you mentioned?

@Rocky maybe you could come grow some kale in my yard too? Although I warn you that our soil is terrible, even with amendment. Citrus does well but everything else takes a lot of work. Are you up for it? :)

@Louise I like that one too but my kids complain. They are still hooked on the white stuff....

malcolmtallon said...

My alternative to pasta is spaghetti squash - we almost never eat pasta anymore - it tastes too heavy now compared to the awesomeness of spaghetti squash. Especially once I learned you can stick a whole pierced spaghetti squash in the slow cooker for your 9 hours away from home...

Erika Kerekes said...

I've never been a huge fan of spaghetti squash but that slow cooker tip is a winner!

Sarah S. said...

This pesto is OUTSTANDING! I made it for dinner since the basil isn't ready for pesto yet and I had kale and parsley in the fridge. Everyone, including the 2 kids who often run from anything green, LOVED it. I didn't even use any cheese in it and it was still such a great texture and rich with flavor. We ate it with salmon, quinoa and asparagus. I kept dipping the asparagus spears into the pesto. So delicious!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Sarah - that puts a smile on my face and a tingle in my toes. Hooray!

Anonymous said...

This was absolutely fabulous. Thanks so much for the recipe!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Meredithelise - I'm so glad you enjoyed it. What did you put it on (or did you eat it with a spoon like me)?

Samitestar said...

Mine didn't turn out as pretty as yours, so I was skeptical about using it with tonight's dinner (garlic shrimp with pesto pasta) so I decided a taste test was in order. I grabbed a pita chip and scooped a little dab up, wowee, it was so good that I ate about 6 chips with pesto (just to make sure it was okay, of course).

Thanks for the wonderful recipe, I think I like it better than basil pesto and kale is so much cheaper and it's so darn healthy, it's all win win!

ernier0x said...

Thank you very much for posting this recipe, I made some tonight and put it on some roasted salmon. It was crazy good!

Erika Kerekes said...

No thanks necessary, @ernier0x - it's become one of my go-to recipes and it's a great way to get my kids to eat their greens.

Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious said...

Yay, every food blog needs a personal kale pesto recipe! Yours looks GREAT! Radish tops a good idea.

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