Although I’ve heard plenty about the deliciousness of kale pesto, I’ve never made it myself. I assumed it would be a lesser pesto – not as full-flavoured as that made with loads of fresh basil. Turns out I was wrong. It’s not the first time.
I got so excited about that kale-Brussels sprout salad that I wound up with 3 bunches in my fridge – plus spinach, arugula and a tub of spring mix. (It could be that I’m so desperate to see something green outside that I’ve been stockpiling it inside?) And so because W will eat anything smothered in pesto (proof that all kids are picky in their own unique ways) I decided to give it a go.
Besides, it’s a good way to compact enormous bags of leaves into something far smaller (and tastier) than the sum of its parts. I used mostly kale, with some spinach and arugula added for interest. Blanched it quickly in a pot of boiling water, drained it well and blitzed it with toasted walnuts, Parmesan, garlic and olive oil. It took five minutes, yet makes me feel oh-so Urban Homesteader.
It’ll keep well in the fridge for pasta and salmon and eggs, and when we head to Seattle next week if there’s any left, I’ll cover it with a slick of olive oil and put it in the freezer. Putting away preserved greens after sweeping the snow off my car in the middle of March? Something seems amiss here.
But not here.
Kale & Spring Greens Pesto
4 cups fresh kale, chard, spinach and/or arugula, tough stems trimmed, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds, toasted
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
If you’re using kale, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil; add all the greens and blanch for 2-3 minutes, until tender and wilted. (You can do this with other greens, but it isn’t as necessary; more tender greens can be tossed into the pesto raw.)
Drain the greens well in a colander and set aside to cool. Place in the bowl of a food processor with the walnuts, Parmesan, garlic and lemon juice and pulse until well mulched. With the motor running, pour in the olive oil, blending and scraping down the side of the bowl, until well blended and roughly smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve immediately or refrigerate in a jar for up to a week. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.