Kale and Walnut Pesto

I’m back.

It was a great, if very busy, week between the graduation and birthday celebrations.  I did a great deal of cooking, but little of it documented – I simply didn’t have the time.  That’s over, however, and this week I’m back on schedule.

The farmers markets are in full swing, we’ve begun to receive our CSA shares and our vegetable gardens are going like gangbusters, which can only mean one thing:  we are drowning in vegetables.  Right now, I have 3 different kinds of kale in my refrigerator, spinach, garlic scapes, several different kinds of lettuce, broccoli rabe and at least a quart of strawberries – most of which will make appearances in my recipes this week.

Here’s the first of those recipes, which makes really nice use of kale.  I’m not much of a pesto person; in fact, I’d never made it before.  I’m not sure why, because it is ridiculously easy and this recipe, while kind of unusual, is just delicious – bright and lively and extremely flavorful.  So much so that a little bit goes a very long way – a serving is about 2 tablespoons.

I wouldn’t recommend this with fish; it will simply overwhelm it.  It was great on grilled chicken, though, and if you’re so inclined, it would be marvelous on a good, hearty pasta.

If you’re not a fan of garlic, I’d reduce it to one smallish-sized clove.  Also, don’t leave out the lemon juice; it really complements the heartiness of the kale and walnuts, and gives the dish some much-needed brightness.

Kale and Walnut Pesto.  Put a seasonal spin on a classic condiment!

Click photo to enlarge

Kale and Walnut Pesto
Serves: 16
  • [i]makes about 2 cups[/i]
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 ounces kale, stems removed and torn into pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Place the walnuts, lemon juice, kale, garlic and Parmesan cheese in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until well combined. With the food processor running, add the olive oil, pouring in a thin, steady stream.
  2. When the ingredients are thoroughly combined, transfer the pesto to a bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Nutrition (per serving): 93 calories, 8.9g total fat, 2.8mg cholesterol, 54.1mg sodium, 78.9mg potassium, 2.1g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, <1g sugar, 2g protein

8 thoughts on “Kale and Walnut Pesto”

  1. If you think you are awash in veggies – just wait till these gardens start to come in! You already have a week’s worth of salads out there.

  2. I have a ton of Kale that I bought from a produce stand that was closing up. I was wondering how long you would think this would last if I refrigerated or froze it?

    1. It should last at least a few days refrigerated, and quite a bit longer frozen, although I can’t vouch for the texture after you thaw it out. Just remember that a little goes a long way.

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