I think Hella was the first of us to make this Kale Pesto. It was her contribution to a Year 6 school project about healthy eating which included making the food, packaging it and doing a marketing plan. Through word association, we got from 'healthy' to 'kale' pretty swiftly and then began work on making it palatable - blitzing it up with other delicious (and healthy) ingredients seemed the obvious answer. To really lean into the 'healthy' concept, she served it with vegetable batons (the old favourites carrots, peppers and cucumber I imagine) and it was a tasty success without having that 'tastes like it's extremely good for you' thing going on.
I make this pesto a lot now. I regularly buy kale with impressive intentions but often find it still winking at me from the fridge sometime later - this is my go-to, to get it used in a manner that's useful as well as tasty.
The flavour of this pesto is delicious - a perfect balance of zesty citrus, sharp cheese, bitter kale and creamy nuts.
What ingredients go into my Kale Pesto?
There's kale (obviously), parmesan, nuts, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. The quantity makes enough for a 500ml jar and it keeps nicely in the fridge for several days.
Here's what I've learned about making this pesto -
- Take the leaves off the stalks before you weigh it - the stalks are too tough to be pleasant.
- I switch the nuts around depending on what I have in the cupboard and I'll also sometimes use a mixture if I don't have enough of one type - variety is good for your gut after all. I avoid salted nuts. Traditional pesto often uses pine nuts, but they seem to always cost more than a small house so I rarely indulge.
- I go easy on the garlic but that is about preference. I also grate the garlic into the blender rather than allowing the blades of the blender to do the work. It's one thing getting a rogue piece of walnut in your pesto but finding yourself chewing on half a clove of raw garlic is something else.
- Adjust the lemon to taste (and according to how big/juicy your lemon is). I like to be able to taste the citrus, but we're all different.
- I like my pesto to be fairly coarse but blitz it as much as suits you and your family. Reluctant vegetable eaters may be more accepting of this version of an old favourite if it is blitzed to within an inch of its life.
- Although the pesto will keep nicely in the fridge for a few days, the vibrant green colour does dull quickly (even with a bit of olive oil over the surface in the jar). If you want to serve this, say, as a dip, make it at the last minute.
And how do I use this Kale Pesto?
- It's great in our family's favourite dinner, Pesto Pasta
- It is delicious on a piece of grilled salmon
- It works well in these Tomato and Pesto Tarts
- I like it drizzled over the top of a soup (loosen some pesto with olive oil to make it runnier) or stirred into a vegetable soup to liven it up a little.
- It's a great addition to a chicken sandwich.
- A roasted vegetable sandwich seems lost without it.
- Sneaking a bit of kale pesto under the cheese on melted cheese on toast is spectacular.
- Or, I use it as Hella intended, as a dip with vegetable batons + perhaps also some Pita Bread Chips, to avoid feeling too virtuous.
Honestly, my fridge is rarely without this useful condiment. I hope you will welcome it into your kitchen - I think you could become great friends!Print