Years ago my husband bought me a journal to start writing down my experiments in the kitchen. He was onto me before I even realized what I had going on. Or, maybe it was his chemistry background that made him interested in keeping strict notes in the kitchen as to what I had mixed, baked, and concocted that day and what the final verdict became. Either way, thanks honey!
The first recipe I recorded on 8/24/2014 was Kale Pesto and the recorded ‘Verdict’ was ‘Really good!’ So, I guess that means this is a shareable one! I have made it every summer since because we always end up with an ungodly amount of kale overshadowing our other plants in the garden. In the kale’s defense, we also have 3 small raised garden beds that we legit pack approximately 12 different varieties into. Hope you like cozy, beets.
The kale in our garden is legit. It must be one of the hardiest crops and pretty much foolproof. Because although I have some strong farmers in my pedigree, I did not acquire that skill set. Give the plant to me, and I can assure you I will murder it. Perhaps I should credit my husband for our beautiful bounty! And our little gardener sidekick who said ‘Tada!’ when I asked him to get in a picture with his kale. Proof below.
But really all he was interested in was using the ‘real’ scissors to cut the kale- wasn’t as thrilled about holding the bowl.
So about this kale pesto…. I put that stuff on everything! Seriously, lets call it our summer mayo because it’s that versatile. My first destination for this is pizza, of course. But after that, I plan to smear it on everything else I eat until it’s gone. I’m pretty stoked about adding it to my eggs. And, I’m already dreaming up a mega stuffed sandwich with this spread on both pieces of bread. I have also been known to dunk a cheese stick into it. Don’t knock it until you try it because it’s legit. And of course, it goes together with pasta like bread and butter.
Other ideas?! Shout um out! Enjoy!!
Kale Yeah Pesto
Servings: yields 2 cups total – do with it what you will!
4 cups kale, veins removed, packed
1 1/2 cups basil, fresh, loosely packed
1/2 cup almonds, roasted
3 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 oz Parmesan cheese, chunked (or if you bought shredded, as is)
- If your almonds aren’t roasted yet, chop slightly and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Allow to cool before making the pesto.
- In a food processor, combine kale, basil, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Combine until a chunky mass is made. You may have to stop the motor and scrap the sides down a few times. If it feels like you’re spinning your wheels, move on to the next step.
- Add cheese. Place lid back on and remove the little plug on the lid. Turn on the motor and slowly pour the olive oil into the food processor through the open spot in the lid.
- Process until desired consistency.
- Keeps in the fridge for a week or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
- You can use other nuts, if you prefer. I have made it with walnuts. Classic pesto is made from pine nuts. I feel like sunflower seeds might be good to! Use whatever you like and have on hand.
- Use on pasta, sandwiches, grilled cheese, pizza, eggs…. really anything goes here.
- Omit the cheese for dairy free, it’s still pretty darn legit.
- Buy a good block of Parmesan cheese for the flavor to knock your socks off. Stay away from the pre-shredded cheese if you can – it has things added to it so it doesn’t stick together – not ideal for pesto.
Athletes: Bring on the antioxidants and repair those muscles. Make the most of all your meals by adding in healthy fats, antioxidants, and a variety of phytochemicals from fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and those same healthy fats. Bet you know what’s coming….. this kale pesto has you covered! Don’t forget your friend – the healthy fats!
Healthy Eating: Salads can get super boring and feel monotonous. Grab your greens and process them down into this kale pesto and get your veggies in a totally new and satisfying way. Who said healthy eating has to be boring and flavorless?! Promise I never did.
Kids: Get those kiddos involved! My fabulous helper sunk his teeth into a stalk of kale and proclaimed ‘yuck!’ – by far my least favorite ‘food’ related word, but he tried it! And, we’ll keep trying it in different forms to develop a likeness. Exposure is a huge piece of developing diverse eaters. Just because we got a ‘yuck’ today, doesn’t mean it will never be a yum.