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Garden Recipe: Kale Pesto

Kale is a fabulous cool weather crop, one that actually tastes SWEETER when the weather turns cold, losing the bitter taste it can have when grown in warmer months. And unless you’re installing cold frames on your garden this week or next, a crop that you should harvest before the first hard frost.

Garden-Kale Skeleton-02

Yes, that is a skeleton harvesting kale from the Green City Growers R&D garden. A little Halloween humor.

Kale is everywhere, in the form of kale chips and kale smoothies, but as recently as 2008 this vivacious green was virtually unknown. High in vitamin c, vitamin k, beta carotene and calcium, kale also decreases cholesterol and reduces the absorptoin of dietary fat, and may even fight cancer. Since 2008, kale has seen a rise on restaurant menus by 400% and 2012 was even dubbed the Year of Kale. Although some say kale may have reached it’s peak in popularity, it doesn’t look like it’ll be going away any time soon. Here’s a delicious garden recipe to beef up the kale section of your recipe box. There’s no kale section you say? There SHOULD be!

Lemony Kale-and-Pecorino Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Tuscan kale, stemmed
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 ounces Pecorino Toscano cheese, coarsely grated (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • Pinch of Aleppo pepper
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

kale-pestoCook kale for one minute in a large pot of generously salted boiling water. Immediately transfer kale to an ice water bath. Drain water, and add kale and remaining ingredients to a food processor. Process until smooth.

What’s great is, you can use almost any combination of greens and nuts to make pesto – cilantro and pistachio, arugula and pecan, parsley and walnut. The only limit is your imagination!

DIY Pesto Recipe from The Urban Bounty: How to Grow Fresh Food, Anywhere

  • 4 cups herbs/greens
  • 1 cup nuts
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Incorporate all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Pesto with pasta, pesto pizza, pesto on a tomato/mozzarella sandwich, pesto in an omelette – there’s no wrong way to eat pesto. Want to freeze a batch? Set aside 1/4 cup of the olive oil from the recipe. Put your pesto (minus that 1/4 cup olive oil) into a freezer-safe container. Top with the olive oil to seal it. Freeze. When ready to use, defrost and blend the entire contents.


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