Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kale Pesto

Giant bowl of green goodness

I know it's Taco Tuesday, and some sort of taco recipe would be appropriate, but since yesterday was Monday, which is, in some foodie circles now apparently called "Meatless Monday", I figured this vegetarian recipe from the weekend would also be good.  Plus, I had photos ready and could post it now, instead of later tonight, which could end up being much much later tonight, since I've got an abundance of errands & chores that need attention after work.

We love pesto in our house, and it's one of those things where once you make a batch of it there are tons of things you can do with it.  Basil is really best in summer, so in the winter time fresh kale makes delicious pesto.  It might sound strange, but it really does work, maybe even better than the basil variety, at least in my opinion.  It's made almost the same as basil pesto, just substitute kale for basil and instead of pine nuts I use walnuts.  Don't skip on toasting the walnuts, it really does help bring out their nutty flavor.  Since Meyer Lemons are in season here in California I use them instead of regular lemons too.  Lastly, I add a big spoonful of Greek yogurt at the end.  I know it seems like I put Greek yogurt in everything, but it does seem to be a magic ingredient.  It's incredibly healthy and can be substituted for all kinds of dairy items.  And don't think I am crazy for adding Greek Yogurt to this pesto.  I swear it's what puts it over the top.  It gives it this creaminess that is simply delicious.  Honestly, I would rather have this pesto than the traditional basil pesto any day.

Kale Pesto

1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed (I like the curly variety)
3 cloves garlic
zest from 1 meyer lemon
juice from 1 meyer lemon
1/4 cup toasted walnuts + a handful to mix in at end
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese + 1/4 cup to mix in at the end
salt & pepper
Good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup non-fat greek yogurt
Equipment needed:  Food Processor
  1. Blend the Dry Ingredients.  In a food processor pulse the kale, the garlic, the lemon zest, the toasted walnuts & the parmesan cheese until smooth.
  2. Add in the Liquids.  With the motor running, add in the lemon juice and then slowly add in the olive oil until it is well incorporated and you have a nice smooth pesto
  3. Fold in the remaining ingredients.  Transfer the pesto from the food processor to a bowl.  Toss in a handful of chopped toasted walnuts, the remaining Parmesan cheese & the Greek yogurt.  Season with salt & pepper and  stir well.
  4. Serve!  You can serve immediately, or, it will keep in the fridge for several days, you can even freeze it.  It goes great on anything you would normally put pesto on.  I tossed it with some fresh Meyer Lemon Fettuccine that I picked up at the produce stand, topped with some sautéed yellow, white & green zucchini, shallots & cherry tomatoes.  It was amazing.  It's great on eggs, and just plain slathered on a cracker or piece of bread.  Also try it on grilled or pan seared salmon- it's ridiculously delicious!
Meyer Lemon Fettuccine with sautéed veggies & kale pesto
My wine pairing for this dinner?  A 2008 Carmel Road Monterey Chardonnay.  A Bargain at only $12 (at our local Safeway, which has the cheapest wine prices around), I think it's only $18 from the winery itself.

Bon Apetit!


  1. I never thought to use kale in a pesto...what a neat idea. Must give this a whirl.

  2. You'll have to let me know what you think! We seriously decided we like it better than the basil variety

  3. This is amazing! I love Kale but never used as a pesto. Looks incredible!!

  4. Kale for pesto.. well, I never had kele, but i love pesto .. i have bookmarked this dish:)

  5. I love pesto! Never heard of kale pesto before, but it looks so delicous with fettuccine and veggies!!! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. Never made Kale pesto before...sounds yummy, and comforting. Actually you can make pesto with just about any green leaved vegetables, or herbs. Will have to try this, next time!

  7. Hey Girl, This looks fantastic! I'm awarding you the Sylish Blogger Award! Check it out here: http://themarfarmfamily.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-awards.html

    Have a Fantastic Day!