In honor of meatless Monday, I thought I would finally post my Kale and Walnut Pesto recipe. Obviously vegetarian, this pesto uses one of the trendiest super foods on the planet. While I don’t always hop on the trendy food bandwagon, kale is something I can really get behind. The first and most important reason I love it: It’s delicious. The fact that it’s healthy and inexpensive are lovely bonuses.
It is often compared to spinach, which I don’t really agree with. It is much sturdier than spinach and keeps a nice crunchy texture as opposed to the wilted flimsiness of cooked spinach. My veggie loving son won’t eat cooked spinach; he loves cooked kale. You can buy it in big bags already cleaned and chopped, throw it into soups, stir fries, and dare I say it… smoothies. But my favorite way to prepare it is this pesto — I couldn’t believe how delicious it was. Serve this alongside pretty much any grilled meat (just not on meatless Monday), or toss it with pasta for a totally vegetarian meal. My choice would be farfalle, or bowtie pasta, and if you want to push the healthiness factor even further, use whole wheat pasta! Or, perhaps the simplest and most delicious way to enjoy it: toast a good loaf of Italian bread ’til it’s crusty on the outside but still soft on the inside, tear it into chunks, and dip to your heart’s content.
Super healthy, super delicious, super easy… My kind of super food. Here’s the recipe:
Kale and Walnut Pesto
- two bunches of Kale: about 16-20 ounces total
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- juice of one lemon (and zest if you want it extra lemony)
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano
- 1 garlic clove
- salt and pepper to taste (the cheese is salty, so you may not need any salt)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, just as you would for pasta.
Prepare your kale by removing it from the tough stems, tearing into smaller pieces, and rinsing well. (unless, of course, you buy it in a pre-washed and pre-trimmed bag — then you can skip this step.)
Once the water is boiling, add kale and cook for 1 minute. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Once cool, squeeze with your hands to remove any excess water, then spread on a towel or paper towels and really press to get as dry as possible.
In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients and pulse until you have a fairly coarse purée, (if using a blender, you make have to stop and push the ingredients down a few times). If you want it looser, add more oil or a splash of water until you reach the desired consistency.
This will keep in the fridge for a few days and is good on pretty much everything!