One of my favorite things to grow in the summer is dinosaur kale (aka Tuscan Kale, Lacinato Kale or Black Kale). This sweet, healthy vegetable is easy to grow, even in pots on our deck above the back porch. It tastes best after a light frost, it loves the cold temps. I picked the last of my kale the other day and decided to do a riff on a Lydia Bastianich recipe she made on her show. My addition of roasted walnut oil (affiliate), as well as walnuts, really
The recipe was inspired by watching a Saturday morning cooking show (my favorite thing to do, don’t cha know!) Lydia Basticanich made a version of this, and I thought it was a great idea. Usually, I chop up my kale and use it in stir-drys, soup or my eggs in the morning. This sounded pretty tasty, so I made quite a few modifications to her recipe and came up with this versatile sauce.
Another kale tip:
If you are using kale in a salad, the trick is to slice it thin, add a pinch of vinegar (whatever you please) and massage it for a few minutes. The kale becomes a wonderfully easy to eat vegetable.
Why should you make this awesome pesto you ask?
- it’s super healthy, but tastes naughty!
- no-cook, need I say more?
- makes for an easy weeknight pasta sauce, even for the haters
This pesto still has basil and some of the usual suspects of regular pesto, it’s the Roasted Walnut Oil that makes it so special. Just try and tell me you don’t like kale, I double-dog dare ya, because after you make this Kale Pesto, you will be converted, pretty darn-near guaranteed.
Here are some ideas of how to use this pesto:
- add to soups before serving (a personal favorite)
- use with pasta for veggie-loaded the first course
- use as a healthy topping for pizza
- try it in place of spinach in my Spinach Artichoke Quiche
Kale is also a great option versus other greens because you can add the dressing (if using as a salad) and it will hold up for a few hours, it gets even better. Try it, you’ll like it.Print
I’m pretty sure even the biggest ‘kale haters’ will be converted after tasting this recipe. It’s not as heavy as regular basil pesto, so you can really indulge! And the green, it’s truly a beautiful color, and we eat with our eyes!
One bunch (about 4 cups packed) dinosaur kale* leaves, stems removed
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans
1 cup fresh basil (about a 1.25 oz package), stems and all (if they feel tender**)
1/2 bunch fresh parsley, stems and all (if they feel tender**)
3–4 tablespoons roasted walnut oil (or good olive oil works great too) more if needed
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (0ptional)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Remove stems from the kale and give the leaves a rough chop. With the food processor running, drop the garlic cloves down the shoot, whiz around until they are chopped and stuck to the side of the processor bowl.
- Add the kale, walnuts, basil and parsley to the processor, whiz around until completely minced. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl as needed.
- With processor running drizzle in the roasted walnut oil and whiz until a nice paste forms. Add in the chili flakes and parm and pulse a few times to combine.
- Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste. Done.
- No cooking needed, just be sure to save some pasta water to make this into a nice sauce if you are adding to cooked pasta.
*aka: Lacinato, Tuscan or Black Kale
**I’ve been using a lot of herbs stems lately, especially when they go into the food processor , as long as they are tender and not woody, don’t toss them out! Cilantro stems are especially good, just chop and throw into a stir-fry, treat it like a vegetable. You pay for them, you should use them too!