This time of the year always gets me excited. Yes, there’s my birthday and the wisdom that comes with it but I think it has more to do with the allure of watching the city landscape transform after a long, cold winter. Almost overnight, lawns transform to lush green (except my lawn of course!), dormant buds burst open into gorgeous blossoms and birdsong fills the air. It’s also the time of the year when we sow seeds and reclaim our urban gardens. Of all the garden space and pots that we have in our backyard, five pots are always set aside solely for basil seeds. And though that promises a healthy supply of basil in the coming months, at the present moment making pesto requires some creativity. Kale, as it turns out, makes a great substitute.Kale is a relatively new vegetable to me, as well as to my husband. We both grew up never knowing it and we’ve only recently started to use it. When the kale craze was blazing through the internet, we were busy with parenthood and our dual income lifestyle. Believe it or not, until recently, I was completely oblivious to this whole kale craze. I’ve never ever made kale chips! I’ve only made a kale smoothie once and that one occasion earned me a lecture from my ayurveda practicing father on how cruciferous vegetables are goitrogenic and should not be eaten raw. So that put an end to green smoothies for me!
But somehow this superfood has found a comfortable spot in our diet thanks to this pesto recipe. It’s the kind of recipe that’s right up my alley… a few stellar ingredients and one spectacular result… and no chopping required either! Plus it’s delicious, perfect as a condiment, with pasta, or on a pizza… or as my son taught me, a spoonful straight out of the jar!
Kale Pesto (adapted from here)
(yields about 250 ml)
- 100 g kale leaves (stems and veins removed)
- 75 g (about 1/2 cup) almonds (or pine nuts if you wish)
- ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling over the top
- 1 medium clove of garlic
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ tsp salt
- Place kale leaves in a steamer insert and place (covered) over boiling water for 2 minutes. The leaves will become soft and turn bright green in colour. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Place kale leaves, almonds, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor and process until smooth and well combined to the desired consistency.
- Store pesto in a jar for up to 1 week in the fridge. Be sure to always keep the top surface covered with a thin layer of olive oil. Enjoy as you would the classic basil pesto.