I am on a pasta kick this week so I decided to make some pesto. I don't have any basil...don't have any pine nuts...so I am going to make a kale pesto with walnuts or cashews (or whatever I have in the pantry). Some will substitute arugula or spinach for the green and if you are dairy-free you may omit the cheese.
Pesto is a simple, tasty sauce of crushed green leaves, nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil, typically served with pasta (hot or cold). However, pesto is known to have many uses. Pesto can be eaten on salmon, chicken breasts, shrimp, potatoes, steak, pizza, as a marinade, as a smear on bread. Get creative! Some will even put it in their eggs at breakfast...but even I am not that creative.
Pesto can be refrigerated or frozen easily. If you intend to freeze the pesto, leave the cheese out and add it when you thaw the pesto, prior to serving. Add a layer of extra virgin olive oil on top to keep the pesto from losing its bright color.
1/2 c diced walnuts (OR pine nuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts)
1 garlic clove, smashed
2 c kale
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
1/4 - 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
Dash of lemon juice (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
*Toasting the nuts will give you a more robust flavor
Add nuts to a small saucepan and toast on the stove top for approximately 2 minutes, tossing constantly. Remove from heat and cool.
Pulse garlic clove in food processor for about 30 seconds. Add kale, toasted nuts and cheese and pulse. Add olive oil into the food processor in a steady stream until you get the consistency you desire. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice. Serve over pasta or your favorite dish.
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