Kale is cultivated in Italy’s cooler northern regions. In Italian cuisine, the popular Tuscan ‘cavolo nero’, otherwise known as ‘black kale’, is preferred over ‘curly kale’, though on British soil, the latter is more widely available. Both, however, boast an earthy, green flavour, that shines in our kale pesto recipe. Here, we blend creamy walnuts and Parmigiano Reggiano, along with crisp kale leaves, and fragrant basil. To make our kale pesto recipe vegan, simply omit or substitute the parmesan cheese for a dairy-free alternative. This rugged pesto pairs perfectly with classic pasta bianca (white pasta, or pasta made without eggs) shapes, including trofie, orecchiette, or strozzapreti.
Our walnut and kale pesto recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Calories per serving: 274 kcal per serving (excludes pasta)
- ½ cup walnuts
- 1 cup kale (stems removed), cleaned and chopped
- 1 cup basil, cleaned and chopped
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Pestle and mortar
Chef’s tip: If you don’t have a pestle and mortar at home, you can use a food processor. We like a pesto that has a slightly rustic texture so be sure not to over grind.
- Begin by gently toasting the walnuts in a dry frying pan over medium heat. Keep moving the walnuts to prevent burning - you’ll know they’re ready once fragrant and nutty in aroma.
- Add the walnuts and garlic to a pestle and mortar, and begin to crush the contents, before grinding in a circular motion, to form a rugged paste. You may need to do this in more than one batch. Remove the contents from the mortar, and set to one side.
- Put the kale, basil and salt in the mortar and grind until creamy.
- Add the grated Parmigiano Reggiano and nut paste, and continue to grind until well-incorporated.
- Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, and continue mixing until a rugged yet creamy paste is formed. We recommend leaving it a little rustic as this will help it adhere to the pasta. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- The pesto is best eaten straight away, but can be kept in clean mason jars and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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