Someone asked me the other day if I thought pesto was a condiment. I say it is! I put pesto on pretty much anything, which to me makes it a condiment, and the Huffington Post seems to agree. I put pesto on sandwiches, eggs, avocado, pasta, pizza, plus you can use it as a dip for veggies or pita bread. The options truly are endless. Because I so enjoy pesto, I have developed my own that uses some traditional pesto flavors like pine nuts and garlic, but I omit the cheese and add the kale. #teamkale
Pesto’s amazing flavor comes from basil. Basil is such a wonderful herb with a subtle sweetness and elements of anise that give it an interesting bite. Basil is packed with vitamins K and A so it’s a terrific thing to add to your diet. We’re just incredibly lucky someone thought of pesto!
Making pesto is a snap. Throw everything in your food processor or high-powered blender. I prefer my food processor for this. Either way, begin with the garlic (I love a TON of garlic!) and nuts, then add the basil and kale before bringing it all together with olive oil and lemon juice. You really can’t go wrong, though. Let your taste be your guide and look for a consistency that fits your needs — thinner for a pasta sauce or to go with shrimp, thicker for sandwiches or pizzas.
When you’re done you can have an open faced basil and smoked salmon sandwich, or if you’re in the mood for eggs, I make a mean baked egg with pesto, avocado and smoked salmon on the side. Can you tell what some of my favorite foods are?!
Recipe (I read several kale-pesto recipes before creating my own. I encourage you to do the same!)
- 2-3 cloves smashed garlic (more garlic will give your pesto more of a kick)
- 3/4 cup (heaping) raw pine nuts
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 2 1/4 cup basil, washed and stems removed
- 1 cup kale (heaping)
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (use more or less to reach desired consistency)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Put garlic, nuts, basil and kale into your food processor and pulse until they just start to come together.
- Add the lemon zest and juice and pulse again.
- With the food processor running, drizzle in your olive oil through the top. I used just under 1/4 cup to get mine to the consistency I like. Since I use my pesto for sandwiches, mine is typically a little thicker.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and mix to combine.
- Store in an airtight glass container and refrigerate.