Kale: It’s what’s for dinner.
Somewhere over the last year, I developed a deep love for kale. Yep, I’m one of those strange people that actually truly enjoys kale and I even prefer it to spinach. I eat it in salads, stir-fry, pasta dishes, soups, scrambled eggs, and I get kind of anxious when I don’t have any in the house. I love curly kale because there is so much surface area to the leaves and it’s one of the cheapest greens you can buy, averaging around $0.99 per pound. It’s much more substantial than spinach and doesn’t wilt into a slimy pile of nothing when you cook it. Kale can be bitter sometimes, but every now and then I’ll get a really good bunch that is sweet and full of flavor.
Today I somehow found myself with four bags of kale crammed into the back of the fridge… oops. I had seen recipes for kale pesto and today seemed like the perfect time to make it. I’m a huge fan of traditional basil pesto so I of course had to try out a pesto recipe using my favorite green.
I was concerned this pesto would be lacking in flavor since kale isn’t as fragrant as basil, but I was wrong. The kale gives a sweet, mellow flavor and the combination of almonds, parmesan cheese, and garlic doesn’t hurt, either. You can still include some basil in this recipe if you think you’ll miss the flavor. Incorporating kale into your pesto will make it go a long way and will save you money as well. Win-win!
makes roughly 1 cup
- 1 large bunch/6-8 stalks kale, leaves torn into pieces and stems discarded
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (to toast raw almonds, see directions below)
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 green onions or 2 Tbsp chopped shallots
- salt, to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried basil or small handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Fill a 3-4 quart pot halfway full with water and bring to a boil. Add kale and cook for 1-2 minutes, until kale turns bright green and is slightly tender to the touch. Drain in the sink and let cool.
- To toast your almonds, lightly spray a small frying pan with cooking spray and turn onto low-medium heat. Add your almonds and let them toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until they are light brown.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You may need to do this in batches if your food processor is on the smaller side, especially because kale takes up so much space. Season with salt to taste and enjoy on pasta, sandwiches, and more!