Kale, Walnut & Pumpkin Seeds Pesto
Hot off the heels of our recent trip to Italy, I am trying to capitalise on the major milestone that was my kids trying pesto for the very first time and absolutely loving it! You might have read it in the news; it was such a monumental event in our household! And granted, eating it at home after school doesn’t have quite the same allure as enjoying it in the sunshine overlooking the Med, but it is a win nonetheless!
But as always, I like to try to up the ‘goodness’ factor in all of their food (and ours for that matter!), all without compromising on taste in the slightest. They would never normally eat kale, so this is a great way to try to sneak in vegetables they wouldn’t even touch with a light saber. This super tasty version has micronutrients from the green leafy veg, anti-inflammatory and heart-healthy omega 3s from the walnuts, as well as magnesium and zinc from the pumpkin seeds; all wrapped up in basil-y deliciousness! I love using fresh herbs in my recipes and basil in particular contains antioxidants that are great for the immune system, which is wonderful news as the dreaded cold bugs fly around ready to attack at any moment!
It is as simple to make as chucking everything in the blender. It really takes no more than 5 minutes to prepare and I tend to make big batches so that I can freeze individual portions. It is so very versatile, and so much more than just a pasta sauce. Simply smother some pesto over a plain piece of salmon, white fish or chicken and you have a fancy meal in no time! It also makes a great pizza topping, as well as a dip for crudités. Oh Italy – my tastebuds thank you….my thighs on the other hand, do not!
NOTE: This recipe makes a lot of pesto as I like to batch cook it and freeze it about once a month, so feel free to halve the recipe to make less.
· 2 Garlic Cloves (I like to use smoked garlic when I can find it)
· 120g Fresh Basil leaves and stalks
· 60g Kale Leaves (woody stalks removed)
· 50g Pumpkin Seeds
· 50g Walnuts
· 80g Parmesan cheese
· 300ml Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil (or any good quality Olive Oil)
· 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
· Zest and juice of 1 Lemon
· Himalayan Salt
· Fresh Black Pepper
· Optional — Chilli Flakes to taste
· In a blender, whizz the garlic, walnuts and pumpkin seeds together to a paste — you may need to add a little of the oil to help the blades to puree the mixture.
· You want to have a little texture in pesto so avoid blending it so much that it becomes a smooth puree.
· Add half of the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and the apple cider vinegar, and only then add the kale and basil leaves — this way, the pesto keeps it’s lovely green colour and doesn’t go brown like it does if you add the leaves at the beginning.
· Finely grate the cheese and add it to the blender, then gradually pour in the remaining oil. It might need thinning with some water or more oil if desired.
· Season well with salt, pepper and chilli flakes if using.
· Mix well.
· Store in a sterilised airtight glass container in the fridge or portion some out to keep in the freezer.