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 walnut kale pesto 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. Kale pesto is a wonderful option for winter and spring months. I like to brighten mine with both lemon juice & zest, giving it a bright flavor on pastas, eggs, and sandwiches!
- Small bunch of kale (4-6 leaves, remove the thick part of the stems*)
- ¼ cup walnuts, toasted
- ½ to 1 garlic clove
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil (or more for a smoother pesto)
- Juice & zest of one lemon
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper
- Grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese (optional)
- 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 the excess water, and set on a towel for a few minutes more.
- Add the kale to a food processor with the walnuts, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice & zest, salt and pepper, and cheese, if using. Pulse to create a chunky pesto, blend longer to create a smoother one. Taste and adjust, adding more salt, pepper, lemon, and olive oil, as necessary.