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The holiday season can keep us busy with endless shopping and cooking in the kitchen. Try this easy recipe for a healthy winter vegetable frittata with heart healthy salmon, Delicata squash, and kale! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love having breakfast for […]
What to do with wilted Kale?
Kale pesto is the perfect solution to sad, wilted kale leaves! This was my dilemma only days after coming home from the local farmer’s market with the beautiful and vibrant leafy greens and a big smile on my face. That smile definitely turned around when I saw my Kale limp and lifeless in my refrigerator two days later. Many people suggest placing the leaves (separated) in paper towels to give them a longer shelf life and the same goes for lettuce and other greens; I did not do this and learned my lesson.
To revive them, I learned that trimming the stems and placing the leaves in a glass of water as if they were a floral bouquet (which they can be) gives a little life back to them. To keep your wilted kale leaves from going to waste, try them in other dishes such as soups, smoothies, and even meatballs. I will be exploring my first attempt at homemade vegetarian meatballs with the remaining wilted kale this week, so check back soon to hear more about this next food adventure!
Why the Kale craze?
You have all seen the Kale T-shirts around college towns and wonder why the obsession? There is a reason why this leafy green is popping up in juices and smoothies; it is a superfood packed with nutritious benefits! With very little calories, it provides a vast abundance of vitamins and minerals (including Vitamin A, C, and K, and Magnesium), and antioxidants (from vitamins, flavonoids and polyphenols). So, not only does Kale have nutrients that benefit us in fighting free radicals and inflammation, Kale also is a nutrient provider for bone health and fat digestion.
The versatility of Kale Pesto
We are all familiar with pesto paired with pasta, but what about on a pizza, mixed in scrambled eggs, or in a salad? Pesto is so versatile and can be made all year long with various seasonal foods, such as dill and arugula in the spring, or turnip greens in the winter. As long as you have the foundation of the basics, you can really vary it as much as your heart desires. Pesto is simply best mixed in a food processor (or high powered blender) with leafy greens, a cheese or cheese alternative, a healthy vegetable oil, garlic, herbs (most common is basil), and a nut or seed of your choice.
The kale gives the pesto a sharper taste, but to make it nuttier I would suggest toasting the pumpkin seeds (which I will try next time). After making this versatile kale pesto topping, I have already tossed it on Naan pizzas and scrambled egg this week. To give it a longer shelf life and not go to waste, store it in the freezer to last up to several months to a year. This pesto takes only 15 minutes and is a great dish to make on a sunday to prep for your weekday meals. Hope you enjoy all of the benefits of kale and the many uses of pesto!
The pesto can keep up to a week in the fridge in an airtight container or plastic bag. For longer life, store the pesto in the freezer for up to several months. To make this vegan, substitute a cheese alternative for the cheese.
- 2 1/2 cups kale, chopped
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4-5 cloves garlic, largely chopped
- 1/4 - 1/3 cup shredded cheese, such as parmesan
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, unsalted
- 1/2 cup or handful of basil leaves, chopped (optional)
- In a food processor (or high powered blender) pulse the kale and basil leaves, while slowly adding in the olive oil in segments until finely chopped. Add in the remaining ingredients.