kale pesto is the easiest (& most delicious!) way to use up extra farmer’s market basil & kale that you may have on hand in the late summer months. healthier than a traditional pesto, this delicious kale pesto is chock-full of all of the superfood benefits of kale: dense in fiber, nutrient rich, & great for digestion. pair this kale pesto with anything from pasta to a simple summer vinaigrette (or even a caprese turkey burger) & this versatile sauce will become a fridge staple in your house!
so…i have a confession to make: i am totally a hoarder.
now before you go & get all judgmental on me, hear me out:
i hoard fresh produce.
& if you’re anything like me, you’re a total farmer’s market junkie. it is no secret: i LOOOOOOVE a good farmer’s market. after all, is there anything better than stall after stall of beautiful, locally-grown produce at the peak of its freshness?
long story short, no. there isn’t.
additionally, if you’re anything like me, you live in a state like minnesota, where most of the year is a dreadful & freezing wintery tundra of doom.
ok, it’s really not THAT bad, but it IS totally true that we minnesotans don’t get to enjoy perfect weather for the majority of the year. & as a result, our access to beautiful, locally-grown, fresh produce is limited to the late-spring & summer months.
so when these months roll around, you know i’m all about gettin’ my produce on at farmer’s markets. week after week i stock up on delicious fresh goodies & try my darnedest to work through them throughout the week: grill ’em, roast ’em, throw ’em on a salad, serve ’em with fajitas, simmer ’em in a soup, nosh on ’em raw, sauté ’em into a frittata – you name it, i’ve done it.
but inevitably, there are always a couple of laggers that sadly by the end of the week haven’t been used. & rather than let a couple of leftover goodies stand in my way of making another farmer’s market haul for the coming week, i’m always on the lookout for new recipes that transform these leftovers into something that can be paired with the new farmer’s market goodies in the coming week.
enter kale pesto.
this time of summer i ALWAYS have an abundance of kale & basil.
problem solved – this kale pesto is easy to make & comes together in literally less than 5 minutes.
start by rinsing & drying your farmer’s market kale & basil & put them into your high speed blender or the bowl of your food processor.
add a couple of cloves of garlic, some toasted walnuts, grated parmesan cheese, olive oil, & my secret flavor ingredient for kale pesto: lemon.
the acidity of the lemon brightens the fresh flavors of the kale pesto & really makes them sing. i use both the juice & the zest to really drive these flavors home.
buzz with olive oil on high for about 45 seconds until the mixture is creamy & smooth, & that’s it.
it is really THAT easy.
store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks & use on anything & everything from pasta to a great summer vinaigrette.
OR, just stay tuned for the next couple of days for a couple of KILLER recipes that use up this delicious kale pesto that are perfect for game day or squeezing the last bit of summer out of your labor day weekend.
& because pesto doesn’t have to mean pasta, check out how i integrated my kale pesto into a killer burger & fries meal – 100% easy, 100% homemade, 1000% delicious. check out my caprese turkey burgers with super crispy grilled fries with tons of fresh herbs & lemon pesto aioli.
now that you know what i’m keeping my fridge stocked with these days, tell me: what’s in your fridge during farmer’s market season? do you have go-to recipes that you turn to when you need to plow through some left-overs? how about recipes for fridge staples?
- 4 C kale, destemmed
- 2 C fresh basil
- 1/3 C walnuts, toasted
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1 lemon, zested & juiced
- 1/2 C grated parmesean cheese
- 1 C olive oil (+ more as needed)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Combine all ingredients in high-power blender or food processor & blend until smooth, ~45 seconds.
- Drizzle in more olive oil as needed to loosen the sauce & blend to desired creaminess.
- Taste for salt & pepper & add as needed (I find that you don't need too much since the cheese adds a good amount of salt to the pesto on its own)
- Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.