I always struggle to find ways to incorporate Kale into my diet. There’s only so much Kale salad and kale chips and smoothies you could have and I’ve never really been blown away to be honest. I’ve always ingested it as a sort of ‘vitamin dose’, like you would with a pill. The leaves are so robust, you could wash your car with them! The curly leaves would lend themselves well to the task I’m sure. On the other hand, kale pesto is something I could really get into, I thought. Its quick to prepare, is an attractive deep green colour and is intensely flavourful. I could just taste the fruity olive oil, cheese and garlic now. You could use it in different dishes other than pasta. Mix it in with mayo or butter to add some kick or serve it as a little sauce with meat, fish or brush over grilled vegetables. This weekend, we enjoyed it with soft, pillowy gnocchi. I only had EMMA gluten-free gnocchi in my pantry and they were really great!
So why has Kale been crowned? Well, it may just be the king of super-foods! It fights and helps to prevent all sorts of cancers and auto-immune disorders. Its high in fibre, folate, has more iron per calorie than steak, its bursting with vitamins C, K and A, is an anti-inflammatory and I could seriously go on for days.
Kale Pesto – The King of Pestos
Makes 4-6 servings
1 medium bunch (about 8 stalks) kale
1/4 cup pine nuts (I’m sure you can sub with walnuts if you don’t like pine nuts)
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I used Pecorino Romano )
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (3 if small, 2 if large)
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Remove the leaves from the stems of the kale by pulling your fingers down and along the stem. Discard the stems.
Set a sieve over a bowl. Blanch the kale leaves in the boiling water for about 15 seconds then transfer them to the sieve to drain. Once the leaves have cooled slightly, squeeze them
into a ball to release as much water as possible.
Toast the pine nuts in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. (Pine nuts burn quickly so watch them carefully.)
Add the drained kale, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, chopped garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend the ingredients for 10 to 15 seconds, then with the blender still running, slowly stream in the olive oil until it’s fully incorporated and the mixture is well-blended.
Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season it with salt and pepper to taste. Toss the pesto with gnocchi or serve with chicken, seafood, steak or vegetables.