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Winter Kale and Almond Pesto – with a Vegan option

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Winter Kale and Almond Pesto – with a Vegan option

As is often the case, my eyes recently grew way bigger than my stomach. At my local Whole Foods, the giant 11 oz pack of goat cheese is only slightly more expensive than one half its size, so I snatched it up to eat with cranberries. After my family had our fill – I think our eyeballs were rolling in cranberries – there was still about 8 ounces of goat cheese left over. So I made gnocchi. Mmmmm So good! Recipe here. This kale pesto was so amazingly yummy coating that gnocchi.

Wintertime… fresh basil is not in season and plentiful. If you need pesto, there are delicious prepared pestos available, but it is also so easy to make your own – as long as you have access to a food processor. And making your own pesto allows you to choose the ingredients you want in it.

Pesto is an extremely versatile food. Traditionally it is a basil-pine nut- olive oil-Parmesan combo. But you can choose to substitute almost any green with almost any nut or seed and add almost any oil. And for a tasty vegan option, you can ditch the Parm and add nutritional yeast!

This kale and almond pesto is perfect for adding rich savory flavor which does not overwhelm your dish. It elevates your simple pasta, a nice toasted slice of crusty bread, or buttery shrimp. I love this pesto with my goat cheese gnocchi. Plus, you get to sneak in greens without anybody noticing. 🙂

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Winter Kale Pesto

Add kale, almonds, garlic, and about 3/4 of your oil to a food processor. Process until you like the texture. I added in a little Himalayan pink sea salt, but probably should have waited until AFTER adding my Parm, to be sure I didn’t over salt.

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Add in grated Parmesan or N. yeast and combine.

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If needed, add olive oil until you like the consistency. Taste and salt and pepper, to taste.

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Flavor town!

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Winter Kale Pesto

This is delicious year-round, but it is especially wonderful in the winter when basil is not in season.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packed cups chopped kale (preferably organic)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (preferably raw, unsalted)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • grated Parmesan, or nutritional yeast for a vegan option
    • if this pesto is for a cheese gnocchi, you may choose to go easy on the parm, start with about 2 T
    • otherwise, use more – 1/2 c, if you like it cheesy

Method

Add kale, almonds, garlic, and about 3/4 of your oil to a food processor. Process until you like the texture. Add in grated Parmesan or N. yeast and combine. If needed, add olive oil until you like the consistency. Taste and salt and pepper, to taste.

If not using immediately, refrigerate. Let those flavors meld.

Toss pesto with pasta, gnocchi, shrimp, slather over toasted bread, anything you like! Click here for a delicious and easy make-ahead Goat Cheese Gnocchi.

Enjoy!

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  1. Thalia @ butter and brioche
    Thalia @ butter and briocheFebruary 4,15

    I often make my own pesto but never have tried a kale version before. Thanks for the idea.. I must try this out!

    • Chef Gina
      Chef GinaFebruary 5,15

      Homemade is the best! (No green is safe from being pureed in my kitchen.) 🙂

  2. Laura
    LauraFebruary 4,15

    I love pesto made with kale! I do a similar version and add in some hemp hearts for an extra dose of protein. Looks delicious!

    • Chef Gina
      Chef GinaFebruary 5,15

      Kale and hemp… power food! 🙂 Nice!

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