Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Kale Pesto


We knocked out a healthy bunch of red Russian kale tonight for dinner simply by substituting kale for basil in pesto. We tossed our kale pesto with thick homemade whole wheat noodles, but any pasta will do. Also, we sprinkled a handful of raisins over each portion, always a delicious combination: sweet raisins are great with kale, and together they pack an iron punch for vegetarians, pregnant ladies and Popeye impersonators.

Again, this is a situation where kale type matters: you want a sweet variety like red Russian, karinata or even those flowering ornamental kales I've only ever seen in regular old supermarkets. The curly red or green kinds are a little too bitter for this type of showcase.

1 bunch (4-5 cups) red Russian kale, stemmed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
1/4-1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place kale and garlic in a strainer over the sink and pour about 5 cups of boiling water over: this will blanch any bitterness from the kale and mellow the raw garlic. Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until they are touched with golden brown. Combine small batches of kale, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse well until you have a smooth paste. Stir your batches together and salt to taste. Toss with hot pasta, spread on crackers or bread, or use to top baked potatoes.

14 comments:

Katy said...

Yum! That sounds great! Glad you liked the pasta recipe!

h0n0r said...

I didn't realize, until we made a cilantro lime pesto a few weeks ago, that pesto was not a basil-specific term. This looks tasty. How much is kale where you are? Whole Foods had it for $2.99 per lb which seemed kind of a lot? Or am out of touch?

I Heart Kale said...

$2.99 per lb seems like a lot to me--but you'll probably see better prices anywhere but Whole Foods!

... said...

hi. i am so glad you have this site! i used to read "Eat More Kale" regularly, but it looks like that site is no longer available...do you know what happened to those guys?

thanks for loving kale!

I Heart Kale said...

Looks like Bo took down the main "Eat More Kale" site, but the info is still around at http://www.vermontprints.com/ so bookmark it and keep your fingers crossed for more!

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

This looks great! I love kale (and pretty much all other leafy greens), and am happy to have found your site. Any suggestions for collards?

Tanya said...

Mmmmmm. Drooling over here!

Yeah, kale here is wicked expensive this season. $3.50/bunch nonorganic at the farmer's market :(

Operation Frontline DC said...

i made this tonight and it turned out great! i kind of fudged the proportions, and also ended up using the curly green kale you warned against. i steamed it for like 5 minutes which took the bitterness out. thanks for the great idea!

in terms of price, the kale here in dc is $3 for a HUGE bunch at the farmer's market... pretty good deal!

I Heart Kale said...

Woohoo! Glad it turned out well, Ona, especially with green kale, since that's more readily available all over the country.

Jen, click the "Kale and Friends" tag and you'll find some collards recipes. I also think that you can generally sub in collards for kale in most recipes--you just have to cook it a little longer. Another great way to use collards is in lieu of nori in sushi!

In the ongoing kale price discussion, we've been crazy and traveling (hence the lack of posts!) so we havem't been to the farmer's market in a while, but at the Berkeley Bowl the kale is $1.99/bunch organic.

Farmgirl Susan said...

YUM. I've made arugula pesto and of course basil pesto, and I've been meaning to make some spinach pesto, but I never thought to make kale pesto! Silly me, since I'm always trying to talk people into growing all kinds of kale. Great idea - thanks for the inspiration (which I found via my pal Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen). : )

I Heart Kale said...

Thanks, Susan, enjoy!

Grant said...

How much should I sell my kale for?? I am desperate! I have to sell it ALL by tomorrow and I don't know how much to ask for. Please help!

Stratoz said...

great recipe... this is what it did to some local potatoes...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9187876@N08/5032009894/

Ellen said...

Hi, I wanted to let you know that I use this recipe ALL the time and everyone loves it. :) Thank you so much for putting it up. I mix it with quinoa and stuff peppers with it, and then bake them. It's the business!!!!