Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto

 

Sometimes I like to pretend I am on one of those cooking shows where you have a mystery ingredient and you have to repurpose it or use it in a way that someone would not expect.

Exhibit A: Kale

Kale Pesto

Oh hey there curly, green, vibrant, nutritious vegetable. 

I have met so many people that raise their noses at kale.  They say they dislike the texture or the flavor.  I don’t think those people have attempted to utilize kale in anything other than a salad.  I throw kale into smoothies, stews, lentil dishes, hashes.  I roast, cream, and sauté it.

My proudest kale creation is…drum roll please...kale pesto.  If you think about it pesto is comprised of a few key ingredients: herbs, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and parmesan.  Why not switch out the basil for our superfood friend –kale?

Kale Pesto

Kale is loaded with beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium.  It also contains sulforaphane, a chemical known for it’s anti-cancer properties.  Boiling kale loses some of the sulforaphane content, but steaming it does not.  I boiled/steamed the kale, because I don’t own a double-boiler (hello Christmas wish list) and I was too lazy to rig one up with a colander or two pots.

I also used walnuts instead of pine nuts in the recipe, because I had the walnuts on hand.  They do the trick!  This pesto is great tossed on pasta, spaghetti squash, chicken breast, pork chops, paninis, or even as a topping for crackers.  Give kale a second chance!

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes

The Players: 

10 oz bag pre-cut, pre-washed kale
1/3 C walnuts
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C fresh grated parmesan
2 garlic cloves, peeled
sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

The Rules: 

  1. Bring a large pot of 2 cups water to boil (on high heat).
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, remove and toss out any large stems from the kale.  Add kale to the boiling water and cover pot with lid.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, stir the kale occasionally, and cook for 3-5 minutes until the kale begins to wilt down, but still has a firm texture.
  4. Transfer kale to a colander and rinse with cold water.  Allow kale to drain.  Remove excess water from kale by drying between 2 clean dish rags or pieces of paper towel.  You should end up with 3 cups of kale.
  5. Transfer kale and remaining ingredients to food processor.  Pulse until a pesto-like consistency.
  6. Store refrigerated in an air-tight container or serve with your favorite pasta, protein, or as a sandwich spread :)

 

Coconut Curry Red Lentils with Kale

Coconut Curry Red Lentils with Kale

Today is a lazy Sunday.  We are watching our friends Golden Retriever, Ruby, who is Teek’s girlfriend.  They have known each other since they were a couple months old.  Seriously, I love Ruby and Teek, but having two large puppies in one small apartment equals LOTS of time outside.  It also means quick and easy meals.  I was craving something warm and creamy, but still good for you.  We pigged out last night at a friend’s Oktoberfest-themed beer tasting– think brats, sauerkraut, pretzels and mustard, and more Belgian and German beers than I knew existed.  I needed to eat something a little healthier after last night.

Intermission on the recipe: this group of friends gets together once a month and hosts a blind beer taste testing party…how fun?  There is generally a theme and every individual brings a 22 ounce beer to match the theme (last night was Oktoberfest–hence the German foods and brews).  You wrap each beer in a brown paper bag and number them randomly.  Then you taste each beer in order and take notes on what you like and why, at the end you rank your favorite three beers ( 3= the most points, 1 = the least points) and place stickers on each brown bag that correlates to the top three beers you liked.  The host then adds up the points on each brown bag.  Then the competition starts, you unwrap the beers in order from least points to the winner and get to find out who brought the winning beer!  Needless to say…it was a night of gluttony…hence the lazy, cozy Sunday.

Okay back to the important thing.  This recipe.  So I decided to scrounge around in my pantry and dream up something that would stick to the ribs, but not make me feel guilty.  I found a can of coconut milk and I LOVE lentils, so why not put the two together?  I grew up with my mom making a Bosnian red lentil stew–which I have yet to master, but I am always trying new recipes that incorporate lentils.

Coconut Curry Red Lentils with Kale

Traditionally I like to cook my lentils with some sort of stock, wine, and veggies.  Anything that has wine in it, is good by my definition :) But today I felt ADVENTUROUS.  I decided to put an ethnic twist on the lentils, and add a little ginger and curry since I was cooking them with coconut milk.   They are pretty fantastic!  Andrew is currently eating a second helping.

These lentils taste great as a side or served over quinoa or jasmine rice.

Next time your in the kitchen, try something new with one of your favorite ingredients…you might end up with winning recipe like this one.

Coconut Curry Red Lentils with Kale

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
 

The Players:

1 t coconut oil
½ C slice yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t fresh ginger, minced
2 T red curry paste
1 C red split lentils, rinsed
14 oz can light coconut milk
½ t red pepper flakes
2 cups kale, chopped and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

 

The Rules:

  1. Melt coconut oil on medium-high heat in a medium pot.
  2. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent (~5 minutes).
  3. Add the ginger and curry paste, cook an additional minute, making sure to coat the onion.
  4. Add the red lentils, coat evenly in curry and let them toast for a minute.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and stir well. Once the coconut milk and lentil mixtures starts to simmer, add the kale, stir, cover with a lid. Reduce heat to low, allow to simmer for 10-12 minutes.