Amazingly fresh tasting, vibrant and versatile kale pesto. Just finely chopped kale with garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and pecorino cheese. This deep green Tuscan Kale Pesto makes a delicious alternative to the more traditional basil pesto during the cold and colder days of late fall and winter. Whether you toss it with pasta or spread it on a cracker, richly flavored Tuscan Kale Pesto is perfect for holiday gatherings. Quick, easy and boldly flavored. Such an enjoyable way to enjoy this superfood.
One of the World’s Healthiest Foods
Quite the extraordinary moniker for a vegetable that not that many years ago I only knew as a sturdy buffet garnish. These days, all varieties of kale are touted as a rich source of vitamins, minerals, iron and calcium. For optimal flavor, texture and nutrients, choose the smaller, young and bright leaves.
You may know this variety of kale by one or more of its many names: lacinato kale, cavolo nero, dinosaur kale or Tuscan Kale. The dark blue-green leaves have a more delicate texture, a slightly sweeter taste and a quicker cooking time than the more widely grown curly kale. Grown in Tuscany for centuries, Tuscan kale even appeared on the 1777 list of plants in Thomas Jefferson’s vast and beautiful Gardens of Montecello.
I planted Tuscan kale in our tiny garden for the first time this past summer. Even though it didn’t have the full sun it loves, the two plants thrived. They produced enough kale to star in a number of late summer and early fall dishes.
7 ways to serve Tuscan Kale Pesto
- Toss with gorgeous black pasta or gluten-free rice pasta (Tinkyada).
- Toss the pesto into Farro Vegetable Stew just before serving.
- Stir it into soups.
- Add it to scrambled eggs.
- Include it in a lettuce wrap with yogurt cheese and Peperonata (Italian stewed peppers).
- Eat it with a spoon.
Nutrient rich, boldly flavored and gorgeous—who could ask for anything more?
A very versatile winter pesto. Vegetarian and gluten-free.
A flavorful way to eat nutrient-rich kale throughout the year. Great tasting and perfect with pasta, grains, soups and eggs, in lettuce wraps or as a spread.
Makes 1½ cups pesto-enough for 1 pound of pasta
Total time: 6 minutes
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
- Trim the Tuscan kale, separating the leaves from the stems. Optional: Cut the stems into very thin slices and set aside.
- When the water comes to a boil, stir in the kale leaves and 1 clove of garlic. Cook for 2-4 minutes until tender. (The younger the leaves the quicker they cook.) Remove the kale and garlic with a strainer and drain well. Press the kale against the strainer to remove most of the water.
- Drop the remaining clove of garlic into a food processor. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the garlic off the sides. Add the drained kale, the olive oil, salt and pepper. Process using the pulse button until finely chopped. Incorporate the grated cheese using the pulse button.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a small sauté pan over medium heat. Crush a small clove of garlic and add it to the pan along with the very thinly sliced kale stems. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover the pan and cook 1-4 minutes until tender. (Add additional water if necessary to tenderize the stems). The stems can be tossed into pasta, grains, eggs along with the pesto for additional flavor and texture.