Every food and wine seems to have its day. This food blogger sure can’t keep up with them all. But once in awhile I see one that piques my interest. When I heard that October 1 is National Kale Day, I had to get involved! Kale is such a nutritional powerhouse, I had to share one of my tasty recipes so that people who haven’t come around to enjoying kale might give it a try. There are a lot of ways to enjoy kale, but my kale pesto seemed like perhaps the best way to sway folks to the merits of kale. So to mark #KaleDay2014, I’m sharing my recipe for Linguine with Kale Pesto. For more great recipes with kale, be sure to check out my Collards & Kale cookbook.
I have to admit, the first time I heard of kale pesto I was a bit skeptical about how it would taste. But I decided to give it a whirl because of the nutritional benefits. Low and behold, the kale combined with a bit of peppery arugula, garlic and cheese compared pretty favorably with my traditional basil pesto. And it’s not just me–I’ve tested this out on others now. I featured this kale pesto as part of a 5 course healthy tasting menu and got rave reviews, including some big fans of my classic pesto.
A few notes on the recipe. The arugula adds nice flavor for the dish, but I’ve also skipped the arugula and just used an extra cup of kale with good results. And you can make it nut free with toasted pumpkin seeds for a “nutty” flavor. This basic kale recipe can be used for other tasty dishes like the Orzo Salad with Kale Pesto.
So go ahead, enjoy your kale! There are a lot of good soups, salads, and pasta dishes that feature the healthy green. Keep your eyes on this blog for more tasty kale recipes, but this is a good place to start!
As with other pestos, I gradually stir the pesto into the pasta until fairly well coated, but not too heavy. I then let people serve extra pesto according to taste. Pass extra cheese at the table.
Wine Pairing for Linguine with Kale Pesto
Wines that go with classic pesto, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Picpoul-de-Pinet can work with kale pesto too. But this Linguine with Kale Pesto recipe does pack a kick that you might try offsetting with a Riesling with a touch of sweetness or a Gewürztraminer.
More recently (2019), we had a chance to try a the 2017 Braganini Reserve Grüner Veltliner ($19.99) from St. Julian, which has been producing quality wine in Michigan for over 95 years. The crisp lemon fruit and good acidity made this a good match! I’ll be sharing more on Cooking Chat soon about Michigan wine, stay tuned!Print
Linguine with Kale Pesto
Kale pesto provides a healthy twist on the Italian classic sauce.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Fusion
- 3 cups kale, rinsed and thick stems removed
- 1 cup arugula
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted*
- 1 tbsp pine nuts*
- generous pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup (or a tad more) grated pecorino romano cheese
- 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 12 ozs linguine
- chopped fresh tomatoes for topping (optional)
- Begin cooking some pasta before you start making the pesto.
- Add the kale, arugula and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients.
- Add the remaining ingredients, from the nuts through the olive oil, and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency.
- Drain the pasta when it is cooked to your liking. Toss the pasta with enough pesto to coat it.
- Plate the pasta, pass extra cheese and pesto at the table.
- Substitute 2 to 3 tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds for a nut free recipe.
- For an updated version of how we’ve been preparing kale pesto lately, along with more recipe ideas, visit this kale pesto overview and roundup.