It is no secret, we love kale. And why not? It is a green powerhouse and loaded with nutrients that are excellent for pregnant and nursing women.
momme meals Kale Pesto is a tasty and easy way to work more of this deliciously healthy leafy vegetable into your diet. We swap pine nuts for cashews to give this pesto a delightfully creamy texture. All of these ingredients combine to help keep your immune system functioning at top performance and aid in the production of breast milk.
This pesto freezes beautifully and can be pulled out anytime to make a quick and healthy meal. Here we served it with a spelt pasta but the sky is the limit.
½ cup cashews
2 medium cloves garlic
3 cups kale, washed, chopped and packed tight
½ basil leaves, washed and packed tight
½ cup grated parmesan (pasteurized)* or ½ teaspoon sea salt for dairy free option
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly grated lemon zest (1 lemon)
*If pregnant or nursing be sure to check the labels and select pasteurized milks and cheeses.
Note: Arugula can be used in place of kale for a pesto with a slightly spicy kick.
Place all of the ingredients in a food processor.
Blend until smooth, opening the food processor once or twice to scrap down the sides ensuring a more even mix.
Serve immediately with your favorite whole grain pasta. We prefer spelt because of its wonderful texture and taste.
Use approximately 1/2 - 3/4 cups of pesto for every pound of pasta. Add more to taste. Serve and top with a bit of freshly grated lemon zest.
*Tip: Reserve about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of the pasta water and add it back to drained pasta. The additional water helps loosen the sauces and allows it to coat the pasta more evenly, while the added starch in the water helps the pesto bind to the pasta.
Make it Vegan/Dairy Free
Simply substitute the parmesan cheese in this pesto with 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast. You can also try substituting it with 1/4 cup of black olives or artichoke hearts.
Fill ice cube trays or regular size muffin trays with your pesto and freeze in usable portions. Once frozen, pop them out of the freezing tray and place them in a labeled freezer bag or glass jar. Use the cubes for wraps, soups and salads. Use the muffin-size portions for family size pasta and grain dishes.
Additional uses for pesto:
As a spread on whole grain wraps
Mixed with any whole grain or legume salad (warm or cold)
On dark leafy greens or other fresh vegetables
Mixed with your favorite hummus (garbanzo or white bean)
In turkey or veggie burgers
As a marinade for roasted or grilled vegetables, chicken or salmon
Added to your favorite vegetable or chicken soup
As a sauce for your homemade pizza