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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Pesto Reimagined

Diane LaSauce
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kale pesto, courtesy Diane LaSauce

* As part of our ongoing Stretch Gardening series, we have invited some of our favorite garden bloggers to contribute to the Garden Club. This week we feature Diane LaSauce, of “home, garden, life “, capitalizing on kale’s popularity and creating a delicious pesto recipe from this uber-trendy green. *

Why not kale…pesto? Readers who follow my blog know I adore kale. Truly, I eat kale every day—fall and winter—steamed for four minutes, drizzled with olive oil and often topped with two farm raised eggs, easy over. Adding variety to this superfood, I decided to make one of my favorite dishes—pesto.
 Why not kale pesto? 
Indeed, this dish will knock your socks off.

Diane’s Recipe for Fresh Kale Pesto

Find a large bunch of fresh curly kale. Strip the leaves off the vein and tear leaves into pieces. Rinse kale, while bringing a pot of water to a boil. In a large bowl, add cold water and a few scoops of ice cubes. Set this bowl near the pot of boiling water. When water is boiling, add kale in batches and blanch for 30-45 seconds, or until kale is bright green. Using a spider, lift blanched kale out and plunge into the bowl of ice water. Repeat process until all kale is blanched and iced.


Fresh kale, 9 stems

ice bath

Ice bath

blanching kale

Blanching kale until bright green, 30-45 seconds

shocking kale

Shock kale to stop cooking

squeeze kale

Squeeze water out of kale using hands

Squeeze iced kale with hands and place all kale into the bowl of a food processor. Add 3/4 c. sliced almonds, 1/2 c. pecans, 1 tsp. fine sea salt, black pepper to taste, 1/2 c. virgin olive oil, juice from a whole fresh lime (I use a citrus press), and pulse entire contents, scraping sides of bowl a few times during processing. Add additional olive oil until smooth consistency is achieved.

processed kale

Kale pesto fully processed

Meanwhile, boil your favorite pasta, reusing the blanching water. In this instance I used a combination of organic Casarecce and linguine. When pasta is al dente, remove it from the water using the spider. DO NOT RINSE. SAVE hot pasta water.

drained pasta

al dente Casarecce and linguine

Mix pesto into pasta, adding additional olive oil and a few tablespoons of pasta water to dish until desired consistency is reached. Add a large knob (20g) of room temperature sweet butter and gently toss, adding freshly grated Parmesan just before serving.

Cooked pasta, knob of butter, kale pesto, toss adding additional pasta water and olive oil as needed

I promise this recipe will make a believer out of you. This is a tasty dish that will have your friends talking. Serve with your favorite beverage, crusty bread, and tomatoes if in season. Serves 6. Also nice cold as a leftover.

kale pesto with parmesan

Completed dish doused with fresh Parmesan


almonds and pecans with kale

Another kale meal suggestion

P.S.  I adore pesto and make three signature pestos from home-grown herbs: French tarragon with pecans, chive artichoke with walnuts in the early spring, and classic basil with walnuts during the summer months. This new kale pesto rounds out my repertoire and I hope you will enjoy them all. There is more to life than basil pesto!
Bon Appetit!

Images courtesy of Diane LaSauce, blogging at home, garden, life


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