Pesto is one of my favorite things to make and have on hand. I put spoonfuls of it on (almost) everything. It makes otherwise-boring meals seem instantly fancy. I thought I’d share some of my favorite go-to uses. (if you have a favorite, feel free to share!)
Of course, there are tons of pesto variations to be had. This one is based on ingredients that I happened to have on hand at the time. Or more specifically, the ingredient I did not have: basil. Last year my basil plant made a miraculous comeback from the prior winter. This spring, not so much.
So until I get a new plant growing, I’ll be making pesto out of other green things.
- small bunch of kale (4-6 leaves, remove the thick part of the stems*)
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted
- ½ to 1 clove of garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil (or more for a smoother pesto)
- juice & zest of one lemon
- salt & pepper to taste
- optional: grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
- (note: you can use all of the kale stems in your pesto, you will just have to boil them longer (separately) than the leaves. About 20 minutes, or until tender)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Blanch kale for about 30 seconds, remove and place in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Dry the kale a bit, squeeze out some of excess water and set on a towel for a few minutes more.
- Blend everything together in a food processor. Pulse to create a chunky pesto, blend longer to create a smoother one. Taste and adjust, adding more salt, pepper, lemon, olive oil, as necessary.