Creamy Kale Pesto


You wouldn’t expect this pesto to be as pleasant as it is. Which is why I think it may have taken me so long to finally get to making it.

It’s a delightful break from your average basil pesto; a thick and creamy texture with hints of surprisingly vibrant lemon, an earthly kick of crunchy walnuts, the puckering salty comfort of parmesan cheese, and olive oil blended into perfection.

First, I blanched the kale, which I’ve also never done before and really enjoyed, especially because the kale came straight from my aunt’s garden and was crawling with happily plump green caterpillars. I brought the water to a boil and threw the de-stemmed kale into the pot, and watched the dead caterpillars rise to the surface of the water to their catastrophic death (quite satisfying, hopefully I got em all).

I’m also now sold on using walnuts in place of pine nuts. They just add this really awesome flavor.

With a slotted spoon, I removed the kale from the pot and placed it straight into the food processor.

I swear it tastes better than it looks, but who doesn’t love lumpy green vegetables these days? I think our palates have been a little more receptive to some interesting takes on foods the past few years: the rise of avocado for example; cauliflower rice; the Greek yogurt epidemic; that’s all I can think of right now.

This pesto reminds me of the Sicilian Pesto (I think it was called) at Fresh Salads, a Main st. restaurant in Keene that closed down about a year ago (because the owners wanted to move to Portsmouth and the buyers made it into a burrito bowl spot). This place had the most succulent array of pestos: sweet red pepper pesto, white pesto, chunky walnut and basil pesto, etc., mhm! Supposedly, their secret was using canola oil rather than olive oil.  And they had the fluffiest, seasoned bread chunks for dipping. My mom would buy containers of it and bring it home to freeze. I wonder if she has any left…

I topped some yellow and green zoodles with the pesto and sprinkled a finishing touch of chopped walnuts on top. It was delicious and filling, although I thought the pesto was a little too thick to go with zoodles, and I’ll save the leftover pesto that I was able to freeze to make with real, authentic pasta! It’d also be perfect for bread or vegetable dipping, a salad dressing, or to to top off just about anything. MAYBE A BURGER- A BEET BURGER OR A QUINOA BLACK BEAN BURGER?! Hmm…

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups kale, destemmed and blanched
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ a lemon, for its juice
  • ¼ parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil, until desired consistency
  • A pinch of sea salt and pepper

Blanch your kale, remove from pot with slotted spoon and place in food processor. Mix all ingredients BESIDES the olive oil. Start to blend, and slowly pour olive oil in until desired consistency is achieved.

Grab a spoon and lather on like a facial mask.

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