Kale pesto… I never would have thought that it would taste so good!
For me, the best part about being on a health kick is trying new foods instead of relying on the old favourites – and although there will be some that aren’t so successful, it is so much fun to make new favourites in the process.
Kale is a recent addition to our diet, and after reading so much about its nutrient density and many health benefits, I have been trying to integrate it into our daily meals as much as possible.
We started Sunday morning at the local farmer’s markets, and I must say the smile didn’t come off my face the whole time, despite the bone chilling breeze and mediocre coffee. The thing that made me happiest was seeing large piles of kale at almost every stall, allowing me to stock up on something that you can rarely find at the grocery store.
I usually use kale in place of spinach, as a base to a salad or even as chips, but I never would have imagined that it would make a good pesto.
For me, pesto is all about the basil. There is nothing quite like taking a huge bunch of fresh basil and turning it into one of the tastiest spreads/dips/dressings that ever existed.
Unfortunately our basil plants have slowed right down for the winter, and are barely even good for picking a few leaves off, so when I came across a recipe for kale pesto in Sarah Wilson’s I quit sugar cookbook I knew it would be perfect for the next time we had kale.
Regular old pesto is already sugar free, but the IQS cookbook is full of ideas to add more green leafies to your diet, and we all need that!
I didn’t particularly follow the recipe, but just did what I always do with pesto – throw everything in, blitz, taste & tweak.
Here’s what I came up with:
Kale pesto, adapted from the I Quit Sugar cookbook:
1 bunch kale (any kind), de-stemmed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup cashews, dry roasted in a frypan
1/2 lemon, juiced
approx 1/2 cup of olive oil (use more or less depending on desired consistency)
parmesan, grated (to taste)
Put cashews (or other nuts) in a dry frypan over medium heat, watching carefully to ensure they don’t burn. Remove when they have coloured.
Meanwhile, wash and de-stem a bunch of kale, tearing it into large pieces. Using the pan you have removed the cashews from, add a big splash of water (creating steam) and throw your kale in. With tongs flip around until it has wilted.
Put toasted nuts, wilted kale and peeled garlic into a food processor, blitz until it is all chopped up.
Add a squeeze of lemon, big glug of olive oil, some grated parmesan cheese and blitz again.
Add more oil if necessary depending on what consistency you want (you can thin it more later with oil if you want to use it for a dressing).
Taste. Add more parmesan if you need it for flavour and salt (to make it vegan leave out the parmesan and just add sea salt). Blitz again until it is the desired consistency – I like all the pieces to be of similar size.
Taste again and repeat until you are happy.
Enjoy however you like – on top of steamed veg, on a sandwich, on pasta, on a pizza base, thin out with some oil and use as a dressing, eat out of the jar with a spoon or best of all, atop a slice of fresh bread (or maybe that is just me).
Store in a clean jar or container, add a layer of olive oil over the top to preserve. Freezes well.
Recipe adapted from Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar cookbook.
Photos from: my camera