Skillet #4 - Michael's Kale Pesto

 
 A mixing bowl filled with the finished kale pesto.

A mixing bowl filled with the finished kale pesto.

Fair Food Challenge's own Michael came back to host the second Skillet Community Kitchen session by demonstrating their recipe for a kale pesto pasta. As a current student studying a masters in environment, Michael is quite passionate about sustainability, making healthy food on a budget and different cooking methods.

Michael - "This recipe is just so fresh and easy to make: this is my go-to recipe for a quick summer dinner. If I ever have any extra herbs lying around that need to be used, this kale pesto is exactly what I go for because all you need is a food processor and some leafy greens to make a tasty condiment"

 

 All the ingredients picked, washed and ready to be processed together.

All the ingredients picked, washed and ready to be processed together.

Serves 8 people

Prep time: 20 mins

Cook time 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 packed cups of washed Kale (stems removed)
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1 cup parsley
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ toasted walnuts
  • 6 - 8 cloves of garlic (dependent on your taste)
  • 1 ½ cups grated parmesan (or for a vegan replacement use nutritional yeast)
  • The rind of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Pasta of your choice

 

 Michael putting the first batch of leafy greens into the food processor.

Michael putting the first batch of leafy greens into the food processor.

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and place the walnuts in spread out evenly on a baking tray for 10 minutes until fragrant (remember to turn over after 5 minutes).  
  2. Boil water and cook pasta as per instructions on the package.
  3. Prepare your:
    1. Kale and herbs by removing the stalk, picking the leaves and washing well,
    2. Garlic by removing skins,
    3. Lemon rind and juice,
    4. 1 cup or grated parmesan,
    5. ½ cup of olive oil.
  4. In a food processor combine herbs, garlic and ¼ cup of olive oil. Slowly incorporate kale at intervals and add more oil to ensure blending.
  5. Add in lemon rind and juice and continue processing.
  6. Add in ½ the toasted walnuts and parmesan (or nutritional yeast) and season to taste while continuing to process until smooth.
  7. As an additional step add in water to processor in tablespoon increments to achieve desired consistency (note: the pesto should be creamy and loose, but not watery).
  8. Combine with cooked pasta and the rest of the walnuts and serve with the extra grated parmesan instantly.

 

 Michael scraping down the sides of the food processor with a spoon to ensure everything incorporates together evenly.

Michael scraping down the sides of the food processor with a spoon to ensure everything incorporates together evenly.

Hints:

  • Add in a little extra olive oil if you want a creamier pesto.
  • Feel free to add in extra liquid to continue to help our pesto process: reserve some oil and add in incrementally to help the kale leaves process.
  • If you don't have kale on hand you can replace it with spinach, rocket or even carrot tops to make a nice variation on this recipe.
  • You can also change which herbs you use based on what you have on hand: try some chives and parsley if you don't have any basil.
  • Keep some pesto on the side and save for sandwiches or other snacks.
  • This pesto will keep for around 4 – 5 days in your refrigerator but can be frozen for up to six months.  

 

 Mixing the pasta with the pesto for the final product: kale pesto pasta.

Mixing the pasta with the pesto for the final product: kale pesto pasta.