Healthy & Delicous Kale Pesto Recipe

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My farmers’ market is up and running again, and I am just thrilled.  I typically wake up super-early on Saturday mornings when the rest of my town is sleeping in, meet up with a girlfriend for a workout at the track, and then shop my local farmers’ market for fresh fruits, veggies and local organic meats.  That is my definition of the perfect Saturday morning!

We have a few new stands at the market this year: an organic chicken farm and a french baker – – yum!  I’ve challenged myself to do as much grocery shopping from the farmers’ market as I possibly can and will weigh the pros and cons in a couple of weeks.  My farmers’ market sells everything from soap to meat, so I should be able to check quite a few things off my shopping list.  But my husband fears it will be expensive, so I am keeping tabs and will work the budget out in a month to see where we land.

I am not going to lie – the meat is quite expensive – but I am willing to cook less meat during the week in order to have organic beef, pork and poultry. I also feel I save a bundle by avoiding all the temptations in the middle aisles of the grocery store!  Lastly, since I’m cutting out the grocery store middleman, the price I’ll pay at the market for locally grown/organic fruits and veggies is a bit less than at a big grocery chain. It feels like a win to me.

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This past weekend, I came home with a bunch of fresh organic kale. Kale is a super-food, and right now it’s all the rage.  Why, you ask? Kale is high in Vitamin K, A and C and has been linked to lowered cholesterol as well as lowered risk for at least 5 different cancers. Kale is also recognized as a natural support to your body’s own detoxification system and is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory to boot. It sounds pretty super to me, but if you are looking to do a bit more research on your own, check out WHfoods {here}.

Kale has large rough leaves with an even tougher stem. I personally don’t like wasting anything, but most kale recipes will suggest removing the stems, especially if you are baking kale chips or wilting it with garlic. In some cases, the stems just need to go, but don’t throw them away. Those vitamin packed tidbits are perfect for making stocks or smoothies! Throw them in a freezer bag and save them for a rainy day. In fact, I save all my veggie pieces and parts for when I make stock {click here and learn how to make vitamin-rich crock pot stock}. For this kale pesto recipe, you do not have remove the stems, which is a super time saver and makes for a vitamin rich, high antioxidant super food. If kale is just not your thing, you can always stick with a traditional basil pesto that is equally as good {here}.

 

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Ingredients:
  • Large bunch of kale
  • 1 bunch of basil (approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 cups pistachios, shells removed (but any nut will work)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4- 1/2  cup good olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Rinse the kale and basil, removing any dirt and wilted leaves.
  3. Blanch the kale and basil for 30 seconds in the boiling water, remove and rinse under very cold running water until cool. Once cold, squeeze out excess water and place in your food processor or your Vitamix Professional Series 750 Blender. (Blanching softens the rough leaves of the kale and helps to keep the kale and basil’s bright green color, so you do not want to skip this step).
  4. Place nuts, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of olive oil into food processor or Vitamix. Blend until you get a thick, but smooth, consistency. Add more olive oil as needed.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Enjoy tossed into roasted spaghetti squash, mixed into chicken salad, drizzled over a Caprese salad or by the spoonful (yes, I did eat this with a spoon and loved every vitamin rich bite!).

 

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