Kale and basil pesto
Hello everyone. I hope your weekend has been a relaxing one. I did my usual Saturday farmer’s market outing and then escaped to my happy place for some recipe creating! Before I get to the deliciousness of this post, I just wanted to thank you for the kind words and messages that I’ve received about the new blog. It makes me happy to know that it’s helpful to you!
I assume most of you are familiar with pesto and have possibly even made your own from fresh summer basil, olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pine nuts. All of those ingredients are delicious and so much better than buying most prepared pesto from your grocery store. This pesto will provide you with protein and important vitamins and minerals. Let’s start with kale. This cruciferous vegetable has anti-inflammatory, antioxidants and impressive vitamin and mineral profiles. In 1 cup of kale you will get vitamins K, A, C, and B6. You can also get 9% the of recommended daily allowance of calcium from this dark leafy green.
I think by now we are all pretty clear that olive oil is an amazing healthy fat and not to be feared. It has numerous cardiovascular benefits such as protecting the vessels in your heart and lowering dangerous LDL cholesterol levels. There are fat soluble vitamins, like K and A found in kale, that require fat for their proper absorption and breakdown. If you want to read more about olive oil, I highly recommend this article by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.
Pine nuts are commonly used in traditional pesto, but because pesto is so versatile it can be made with other nuts or seeds. While browsing the aisles of the grocery store recently, I discovered sprouted watermelon seeds. The fact that they are loaded with potassium, magnesium and zinc makes them worth incorporating into your diet, but add in the fact that 1 cup of these seeds give you about 30 grams of (plant based) protein and I knew I had to use them in this pesto!
One last word about this recipe: I kept it dairy free for anyone that needs to eliminate or lower their intake of dairy products. If you want to add in cheese you most certainly can and I’ll mention that in the recipe notes. I hope you give this pesto a try, and if you do, come back and let me know!
- 1 large handful of washed basil (I use the organic basil from Trader Joe’s)
- 1 large handful of washed and trimed kale (I used the organic bagged kale from Trader Joe’s)
- 2-3 cloves of minced garlic (start with 2 and see if you want to add more)
- Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
- 1/2 cup watermelon seeds
- 1/2 cup oilve oil (to start with and have more available to add)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- trim tough stems from kale and remove basil leaves from their stems
- gently rinse the kale and basil and then spin dry using a salad spinner. Remove from spinner and place on a few paper towels to absorb any moisture left behind. Pat dry to remove excess water from leaves, you want the kale and basil as dry as possible.
- place kale, basil, watermelon seeds, lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic and olive oil in to your food processor (use the bigger bowl if you have one that has a small and large bowl option).
- have a spatula and more olive oil within reach
- pulse the ingredients stopping after a few seconds to scrape pesto off the sides of the bowl, process for another few seconds and drizzle more oil if needed repeat this process until your desired consistency is achieved. Be sure to taste the pesto, adding more garlic, salt and pepper if needed.
- If you want to add parmesan cheese you can. You will need to probably increase the amount of oil which is fine, just drizzle more in after you have processed the pesto a couple times and scraped down the sides.
- DISCLAIMER: This recipe will not be dairy free when you add the parmesan cheese.
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