Bucatini with Kale Pesto

December 29, 2010 · 9 comments

in healthy,pasta,quick and easy,vegetables,vegetarian

This time of year, whenever I write “green veg” on the grocery list for a trip my husband takes, he inevitably comes back with kale.  He really loves it, and it’s one of the few green vegetables in season at the moment.  I like it, too, but there are only so many different ways I can sauté it and braise it before I’m over it.

Last week, I had a huge bunch of kale staring me in the face again, and no real dinner plans.  That’s when I decided to make a kale pesto so that I could use it in a new way (new to me, that is) and the bonus, of course, was that I got to eat pasta for dinner. :)

This made a LOT of pesto, so I was able to freeze quite a bit for a some quick dinners down the road.  The pesto was delicious and a nice change of pace from the standard basil version.  It had a heartier flavor, and some bitterness to it (though boiling the kale will get rid of much of the bitterness, and the lemon juice brightens it up).  I decided to go with walnuts rather than pine nuts, which were a great complement to the kale.  I topped the pasta with some chicken I quickly cooked in a skillet, to add a little more protein to the dish.

Kale Pesto

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Enough for about 1 lb. of pasta

1 large bunch kale, coarsely chopped and thick stems removed
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
juice of 1 lemon
zest of half a lemon
good quality extra virgin olive oil

 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the kale.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender and most of the bitterness has been removed.  Drain.

Place the garlic and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined.   Add the kale and process until well combined.  Add the cheese , lemon juice, and zest, and pulse just a few times to incorporate.   Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube, continuing to process, until your desired consistency (I’ve always been a fan of a thicker/less oily pesto myself).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine the pesto with hot cooked pasta, drizzling in a little extra oil if desired.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben December 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

Now that’s a way I could eat kale. It sounds great with pasta.

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Ivy December 30, 2010 at 12:37 am

Sounds delicious! I am glad I am not the only one making “weird” pestos. On Tuesday I bought some bootroots from the market place. The leaves were then made into a delicious pesto. I am not sure when I will find time to post this recipe.

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Joanne December 30, 2010 at 5:32 am

My father adores kale, which is odd because he usually avoids leafy greens like they’re contaminated with the plague or something. He would definitely enjoy this though (and so would I!)

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innasinventions December 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

Wow! This looks so good (and healthy!) This has been added to my ‘starred recipes’ on google reader! Thanks for another great recipe!

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Joan Nova December 30, 2010 at 4:29 pm

This dish so appeals to me since I love pasta and vegetables. I’ve put kale into the mix before but not as pesto. Why not? Looks delicious.

Happy holidays and all the best to you and your family in the new year.

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bellini December 30, 2010 at 5:05 pm

I can see how kale would be perfect for pesto. It is my kind of green veg too.

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Banana Wonder December 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm

Love kale too! And it’s all over the place in oregon. I will have to try this pesto, but maybe with hazelnuts instead to make it ultra Oregonian?

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Stephanie @ Per l'Amore del Cibo December 31, 2010 at 8:31 pm

This pesto seems like a great idea — and a good wintery twist on a summer favorite.

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Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen January 2, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Looks delish! Happy New Year!

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