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Purple kale, walnut and parmesan pesto

As regular readers will know (and no doubt appreciate), I am the sort of helpful blogger who goes all quiet during peak recipe blogging periods (such as Christmas, Valentines, Easter etc). Instead, I prefer to blog a lot during the quiet times, like now. I definitely do this on purpose, as I know you are all snowed under with recipe suggestions at such times, so I figure it’s much better not to weigh readers down when your head is already about to totally explode with, say, Christmas Day starter options, New Year party food and the like. Yes, that’s definitely the case… it’s all part of the well-crafted plan. Those ‘well organised’, ‘professional’ bloggers have it all wrong.

I actually cooked and snapped this jar of pesto leftovers around Christmas time but never got around to posting it (I mean, I saved it up for this quiet period). However it occurred to me that many of you might be, like me, eating your way through about 15 veg a day at the mo, let alone 5 a day, in search of a health boost to banish the blues and / or cancel out Christmas gluttony. This is a very easy, very healthy pesto, a bit more rustic and interesting than the one we all know so well. Surprisingly, kids wolf it down – even my lovely fussy eater 2 year old nephew ate a bowlful. They are oblivious (oblivious I tell you!) to the goodness that’s covering their pasta. It’s great.

Now, I know lots of bloggers will have covered this trio of ingredients in a pesto before, but it was my first time. I am a bit of a pesto novice in fact. So I purposely avoided looking at any other recipes, going instead on my instinct. Hence the recipe is totally flexible. Add more / less of the ingredients as you prefer. This is just how I did it.

Oh yeah, Happy New Year and all that.

To make a large bowl of pesto, enough for 2 x meals for 4 people
200g purple kale (or normal kale)
100g parmesan, roughly chopped
75g walnuts
Juice of 1 lemon
Approx 250ml of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

  • Blanche the kale: throw it into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes, then plunge into iced water or (as I did) simply run cold water over the top of it in a colander – this is to stop it cooking any more. 
  • Then, simply blitz the lot in a processor. Start with half the amount of oil and add more as you see fit. I pulsed until I had the desired effect, which was fairly gnarly as you can see. Store whatever you don’t use straight away in a jar with some more oil drizzled on top and it’ll keep for a few days in the fridge. 
  • Serve tossed into pasta, ideally a thick, flat ribbon type like mafaldine, pappardelle or tagliatelle. It’s important to remember to keep a mugful of pasta water aside and then add this gradually into the pasta whilst tossing – as is always the case with pasta, but especially with pesto I think, as this creates a nice sauce and avoids a claggy, sticky finish. 


  1. January 23, 2014 / 10:42 am

    Brilliant idea! I'd resolved to let the pigeons have the rest of my kale, but I'll be fighting them for it tomorrow morning. Many thanks. PS Stir fried kale is great, in case someone out there hasn't tried it.

  2. February 13, 2014 / 4:56 pm

    Hi Linda. I love kale! It's great stir fried with brown rice and soy sauce – there is a recipe on here actually. Thanks for commenting! X

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