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Go Ask Mom

Recipe: Kale walnut pesto

Posted July 3, 2014

We're a kale family. It's not my husband's favorite thing, but my older daughter actually cheers when she sees that we have some in the refrigerator.

I mostly saute it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper or add it to soups. I've made it into kale chips and added it to smoothies a couple of times, but that's pretty much the extent of my kale experimentation.

As I was looking for recipes for pesto variations to use all of the basil that's in the garden right now, I also found recipes for kale pesto. I chose this recipe from Food Network primarily because it was very easy and I had all of the ingredients on hand.

You could serve it with warm pasta. Or, you could use it as a dressing for a cold pasta salad and add some chopped up vegetables such as tomatoes and cheese such as mozzarella or provolone. It's an easy summer side dish or main course.

Kale Walnut Pesto
From Food Network

1/3 cup walnuts
3 cups chopped kale
Kosher salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Set an ungreased skillet on medium high heat and toss your walnuts in there to toast. Stir frequently so they don't burn. It will take about five minutes for the nuts to start to brown and smell toasted. Let them cool and then pulse them in a food processor until they are finely ground.

Add the kale and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the food processor. Pulse until they are finely chopped. (Some recipes for kale pesto include blanching the kale in boiling water for a minute or so. This recipe doesn't call for that step and I skipped it. Another blogger actually takes this whole topic on about blanching if you're wondering what to do). 

Add the Parmesan and pulse to combine. Then slowly add the olive oil, pulsing so it's all mixed together. 

This recipe makes about one cup of pesto. It says that you should use 1/2 cup for one pound of pasta. I didn't think that was enough for my taste, so I mixed the entire pound of pasta and cup of pesto together.

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