Kale and Basil Pesto
I absolutely love pesto. Its uses are endless and it tastes and smells gorgeous. There’s nothing wrong with regular basil pesto, but I like to add kale to mine when it’s in season as it’s a great way of getting this superfood into your diet and it gives the pesto an added depth of flavour.
Kale is packed with so many nutrients our bodies need for healthy skin, hair, bones and a well-functioning immune system. It’s also low in calorie and rich in fibre so all in all there are so many benefits from getting this green into your diet. The great thing with pesto is you can experiment with so many other greens. Spinach, peas and broad beans also work great.
I like to stir mine into quinoa, lentil or wholewheat high protein pasta for a well-balanced meal. But I also love to drizzle the pesto over pizza or salad, toss it through roasted veg or spread it over fresh ciabatta bread before toasting. The pesto keeps well in the fridge (approx two weeks) so it’s a great thing for dipping in and out of to use over several days in various dishes.
- • 100g kale
- • 150g basil
- • 3 cups water
- • 50g pine nuts
- • 3 cloves garlic
- • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional if you want to give your pesto a cheesy taste)
- • 1 tsp salt (1/2 tsp for water to blanch kale/ 1/2 tsp for pesto)
- • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- • Optional: half lemon for juicing and zesting (for a more zesty pesto)
- Bring the water to a boil with 1/2 tsp of salt.
- Let the kale simmer for 5 mins (this helps to tenderise the kale, particularly the stalks which can be quite tough and bitter in taste).
- Drain and place the kale in a food processor. Note: you can skip steps 1-3 and use raw kale instead. If you do this, I’d suggest removing the large woody stalks.
- Dry toast the pine nuts in a hot pan until they turn slightly golden.
- Add the pine nuts, salt, pepper and garlic to the kale (and the nutritional yeast, lemon juice and zest if you’ve opted to include these) and blitz until the ingredients are coarsely chopped
- Now add your basil and blitz as you slowly add the oil until you reach your desired consistency. Adding the oil slowly will stop it from splitting and will also help the ingredients to emulsify.
- For a creamier pesto, add more oil or another liquid (e.g. pasta cooking water).
- Adding the basil after the other ingredients have been broken down will help to preserve the basil’s taste and fragrance for a fresher taste.