Kale and Walnut Citrus Pesto

Lately, pesto has become my new favourite go-to food and I really fell in love with it this past winter.  I think a few things finally registered with me, like just how easy and quick it was to make, that I usually have a few basic ingredients on hand to make some version of it, that it could be such a versatile accompaniment to many dishes, or maybe that I realized just how healthy it could be to eat!   I think it might of been all of the above. 

Traditional pesto is generally these simple ingredients, basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese.  
Making a traditional basil pesto in the middle of winter in Mid-Eastern Canada could break the bank, so I prefer to use a green that's more readily available.   I've learned to improvise when making pesto as it's such an adaptable recipe and kale was my green of choice here. 

Pesto is not a meal, but it can make a meal.  I've had it on pasta, rice, chicken, in a sandwich, on pizza, in lasagna, on a cracker, in scrambled eggs, YES, you can put pesto on almost anything!   

Have I sold you on it yet?  

Depending on what greens you use, you can get a good dose of iron in one meal and it's so good for your blood!   There are so many other great health benefits to eating kale and this article from Mind Body Green shows you the top 10 perks. 

I've added this pesto to a Gluten Free Pasta for my photography.   I love pasta and was heartbroken when I was told to cut out gluten.  Luckily for me (and many others) there are some  amazing gluten free foods out there, (unfortunately, some not so great ones too).  I found a large bag of Organic Non-GMO Ancient Grain pasta from Tru Roots at my local Costco, made from Quinoa, Amaranth and Brown Rice.  So exciting!  Unfortunately, I haven't seen it there for a while.    I had some of the leftover pesto the following day, mixed in with brown rice and a dollop on top of bbq'd chicken. Yum!  Breakfast the morning after was a little leftover rice combined with kale pesto and was mixed in with scrambled eggs.  The rest is in an ice cube tray, and when frozen, into a freezer bag for next time.   Possibilities are endless.  Can you see why I love pesto so much?

I found these adorable Russian Kale Sprouts as I was shopping for my photo-shoot.  I couldn't resist using them as a garnish!    You could also use crushed walnuts, parmesan shreds, or lemon zest to make your dish pretty!  

Kale and Walnut Citrus Pesto Recipe
recipe adapted from Canadian Living Magazine

1 bunch of Kale (stems removed)
2 cloves of roughly chopped garlic 
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (omit for Vegan option)
1/2 cup roughly chopped and toasted walnuts 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 orange (zested and juiced)
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
pinch of salt and pepper

  1. After stems have been removed from kale, blanch kale in large pot of boiling water for about a minute. Drain and place into bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  Remove and squeeze excess water from kale.
  2. Place kale, garlic, parmesan and walnuts into food processor and whirl until coarsely ground.  Add lemon and orange juice and zest, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Pulse for a coarse texture, or blend longer for a smooth consistency. 
  3. Taste and adjust your seasonings


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