Not sure what to do with those leftover kale stems once you’ve eaten the leafy greens?
How about making this delicious Kale Stem and Basil Pesto?! I’ve been playing around with this recipe for months and think I finally nailed it! This pesto is delicious with pasta, crackers, and on sandwiches. Additionally, I will often use this kale stem pesto as a spread on my grilled veggie wraps, along with humus, as the two flavors not only complement each other nicely but are packed with nutrients.
Kale Health Benefits:
Did you know kale has a higher amount of Vitamin C than most vegetables? In fact, there is more vitamin C in a cup of chopped kale than an orange. Kale is also packed with Vitamin K — a single raw cup of kale contains almost 7 times the recommended daily amount of Vitamin K.
Kale is also a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid that’s essential for brain health, reduces Type 2 diabetes risk, and boosts heart health as well. It’s also loaded with calcium, magnesium, and contains quite a bit of potassium.
You can read more about the health benefits of kale and other leafy greens here.
Perfecting the Pesto: The Role of Blanching Garlic
The trick to the perfect kale stem pesto is blanching your garlic. I find this helps to tone down the overpowering garlic flavor, especially for individuals who may have a harder time digesting raw garlic. That being said, if you’re a huge fan of garlic, skip this step and feel free to add more garlic!
How to blanch garlic cloves
How to Blanch Garlic Cloves:
- Place the garlic cloves with their skin on in a small saucepan and cover with water.
- Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Once boiling, remove the pan from heat and strain the garlic cloves.
- Let them cool, then peel.
Ingredient Flexibility in Kale Stem Pesto
Nuts and Seeds: The choice of nuts in your pesto is entirely up to your preference or what you have available in your pantry. While walnuts are traditional, don’t hesitate to experiment with other nuts or seeds. Sunflower seeds, almonds, and pecans are equally delicious alternatives, each bringing their unique flavor and texture to the pesto.
Vegan Variations: For those on a plant-based diet or for anyone looking to avoid dairy, the parmesan cheese can be omitted. Nutritional yeast is a popular vegan substitute that lends a similar cheesy flavor and richness to the pesto. Although I have not yet tried this swap in the recipe, I am eager to test it and will share my findings. Stay tuned for an update, which I anticipate will make a delicious substitute for anyone who is vegan.Print