Kale and Almond Pesto with a Little Bit of Heat

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We have three different varieties of kale growing in our garden, Cavolo Nero or tuscan kale, the curly and green-gray type and one that is a redish purple color with ruffled leaves, I love them all!
 Quite honestly I never thought of turning kale into a pesto, I’m such a basil person, until I saw the new Donna Hay magazine and then I got instantly inspired!
What a great way to use up all my kale!
What I loved was her addition of red chillies and toasted almonds, the chillies give a slight touch of heat and the toasted almonds add so much flavor to the pesto.
Blanching the kale for a few minutes and then placing it right into a bowl of ice water, helps to retain it’s vivid green color. I made mine about a week ago and it’s still bright green. 
If you’re a kale lover and you know just how good kale is for you, then you have to make this! Dare I say I’m liking this better than basil pesto right now, that’s how good it is.
The first time I made it I quadrupled the recipe.

I’ve been tossing and slathering it all over everything. Here I tossed it with roasted zucchini coins and orecchiette pasta.
Slathered over our weekend frittata, man was that good!
And my absolute favorite, ( thanks to Donna Hay) slathered over a warm, right from the oven, roasted chicken.
I will be making many more batches of this before all my kale is gone… My family is thanking me!

Here is my adapted version, slightly different from Donna Hay’s because she used Manchego cheese and I used romano, she also added 1 cup of parsley in addition to the kale, I just used straight up kale.
2 cups of kale leaves stems removed, blanched and squeezed of moisture
1/3 cup of toasted almonds
2 red chillies
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of grated romano
1/2 cup of olive oil
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 375F. On a small baking sheet place almonds, chillies, and garlic drizzle with olive oil and roast for 8-10 minutes or until almonds are golden brown. Deseed chillies.
Place the almonds, chillies and garlic in a food processor then add the kale and cheese, process until roughly chopped then drizzle in your olive oil.
Taste it for salt or more cheese or even more oil, the pesto should have a nice movement to it when stired.

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  2. This looks fantastic – and a huge bounty of kale is an awesome problem to have. I’ve done beet green pesto and radish green pesto, but I haven’t tried kale. I think I might just have to!

  3. The color is electric!
    And the pasta dish calls to me…

  4. Looks fantastic, thank you !!

  5. What a versatile and wonderful pesto! My favourite should be that pretty orecchiette pasta… wow thanks for sharing!

  6. The colors are stunning. I vote for the zucchini coins and orecchiette pasta. OMG, that looks fantastic.

  7. Carla, after, and it doesn’t have to be exact you can do heaping cups.

  8. Am I measuring 2 cups of kale before or after cooking?

  9. Sometimes an idea is just so perfect that it’s hard to believe you haven’t been making it for years. In spite of the fact that I have gobs of basil in my garden, my next pesto recipe will be using kale! Thanks, Marie!

  10. Very interesting! I’m actually not a big fan of kale (except for the Tuscan kind) but this does sound good! My basic problem with kale is the texture and making a pesto out of it should solve the problem, I think. Definitely worth a try!

  11. I used to think that one only made pesto with basil, but I’m ready to take on kale! Your pictures are way too tempting — adding the heat is a great idea.

  12. What a fantastic way to add healthy kale and almonds to a meal! I can’t wait to try this, Marie.

  13. I love kale pesto, but never thought of adding a little heat! That sounds so deliciously perfect. That orechiette with roasted zucchini coins especially has my mouth watering.

  14. Two fantastic ways to enjoy this leafy green.

  15. I’m intrigued Marie!
    Kale has never been one of my go-to veggies of choice but I can imagine the blending of romano cheese and almonds would bring it up on the tastiness scale for me.
    I definitely am now craving this pesto with the zucchini and orecchiette!

    Hope your well!

  16. Beautiful photos once more Marie and a great idea for using up some of that garden kale. I don’t have all the varieties you have, but I imagine it would be good with only the lacinato kale, right?


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