Don't Like Kale? Try Making Pesto with It.

Categories: Recipes

leaf of kale.jpg
Andy Broder
I was eating dinner with my parents, and my 80 year-old father, who doesn't sugarcoat his opinions, said that he didn't like kale. o be more precise, he was chewing with effort and his face was contorted with a look of disgust. Then, as he half swallowed and half gagged he dissed the green currently favored by trend-spotters and healthy eaters. It was a texture thing, and one I've heard from others. Now I had a sort of culinary puzzle to solve. How to turn kale into something other than kale?

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Kale 3ea Collage - use.jpg
Andy Broder
In this case the solution was pretty easy. With a food processor (or blender) and some pantry basics I turned kale into pesto. The proverbial sow's ear was now a smooth-if-not-quite-silky green sauce that can turn store-bought gnocchi (or pasta) into dinner.

When I make pesto with basil I put all the ingredients into a food processor and puree. With basil you can even use a mortar and pestle, but that's a lot of grinding and mashing so it's the kind of chore I assign in a teambuilding class, as opposed to doing of my own volition.

But kale isn't an herb like basil, and its leaves are pretty tough by comparison. Before grinding it to a pulp it benefits from being roughly chopped and then tossed into a pot of boiling salted water. I like to toss in a couple of cloves of garlic as well. The kale and garlic get pureed, and I use some of the cooking water to thin the pesto. I use less olive oil when I use the water, so the pesto is lighter -- in terms of both calories and texture.

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