I absolutely love pesto! Each summer I buy bunches and bunches of basil at a farmer’s market and have a pesto day where I make batches of it, freeze it in ice cube trays and then place it in freezer bags to have during the fall and winter. However, I usually use so much of it that I run out quickly. Life without pesto somehow simply isn’t as rich, so I needed a substitute …….
Kale. Not only does it have beautiful deep green colour, but its health benefits are so vast that it’s hard NOT to use it whenever possible. Lacinato Kale (also called Tuscan kale, or Dinosaur kale), is even more beautiful and flavourful than the other varieties so I tend to use it most often. It gives pesto a rich, full-bodied taste and it doesn’t discolour as quickly as basil pesto does.
In this post, I share two versions of Kale Pesto, one made with walnuts and one with hazelnuts. In my taste-test, I loved both and honestly there wasn’t a huge difference. The kale walnut pesto perhaps had a slightly milder flavour, but I could recommend either equally. I experimented with varying the ingredient amounts in each recipe too, for a bit larger batch. One day, I’m going to try making this recipe with pumpkin seeds for yet another nutty twist!
And what can you use pesto with? Well, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is PASTA, but I have a couple of other options that I’m going to share with you in upcoming posts. Stay tuned to find out!
Kale Pesto with a Twist of Walnuts
A delicious pesto made with Lacinato kale and walnuts!
- 1 medium bunch of Lacinato kale, washed & dried, ribbed and chopped into large pieces (about 4 cups)
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped in quarters
- 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- juice of 1 small lemon, or juice from 1/2 of one large
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted (or raw, if preferred)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add the pieces of kale and blanch for 30-40 seconds. Immediately transfer to a colander or strainer and run cold water over them to stop them cooking. If needed, squeeze water out of them, but if they're not overdone, you should be able to fluff them and let them sit to dry a little, about 3 minutes.
In a food processor, place kale, garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, walnuts, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined.
Scrape sides with a spatula. Add the olive oil with the machine running, and blend until combined. If you need to add more to get the consistency you prefer, please do.
Storage: This pesto can be stored in a jar in the fridge with a thin layer of olive oil on top. Alternately, you can freeze it in ice cube trays and then store the cubes in freezer bags, to use at a later date.
Kale Pesto with a twist of Hazelnuts
A pesto made with kale and hazenuts for a twist on the recipe above.
- 1 large bunch Lacinato kale (or Tuscan or Dinosaur kale) about 5-5 1/2 cups chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, cut into quarters
- 1 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 3/4 cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon sea or Himalayan salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare according to above instructions.
Food for Thought: “Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson