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I hit a roadblock with kale. I’ve been feeling pretty virtuous watching us go through a few bunches every week, having it in smoothies, sauteed or in raw salads. But this week, just looking at the lacinato kale in our refrigerator bored me.

One of the challenges with eating healthy is repetition. If you are new to an ingredient, you are likely to make it the same way over, and over, and over. I spent some time thinking of creative ways use kale and came up with the same types of recipes that I’ve already been making. Has this ever happened to you?

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I sent Matthew a text that night that said “What should I do with kale?” Within ten seconds, he responded “Pesto.” Easy as that.

Pesto can be made with anything green. Heidi Swanson at 101 Cookbooks makes a  punchy version of pesto with broccoli. Lindsay at Love and Olive Oil uses arugula and pistachio to make a spicy pesto. Believe it or not, kale makes fabulous pesto.

Make a big batch and use it all week:

  • add it to hummus
  • mix it with quinoa and cubed tofu
  • toss it with grilled veggies
  • spoon it under roasted baby potatoes

This pesto freezes really well since it’s vegan (cheese doesn’t like to be frozen), so make a double batch and freeze half.

Vegan Kale Pesto
{gluten-free, vegan}

1 bunch of lacinato kale, thick stems removed
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
a few big pinches of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the hazelnuts on a sheet tray and bake for about 10 minutes, until they become fragrant. Set aside to let cool.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add enough salt to make it taste like the ocean. Add the kale (stems removed) and blanch for three minutes. Remove and place in an ice bath to quickly stop the cooking process. Remove and set on a towel or paper towels to absorb some of the water.

Add the cooled hazelnuts to a food processor and pulse a few times until the nuts are coarsely ground. You do not want to make nut flour – a little texture is important!

Add the kale to the processor and pulse a few times until the kale begins to break apart. Scrape down the sides. Then, slowly drizzle in the olive oil while pulsing the blade, pausing to scrape down the sides a few times. It’s important not to puree the pesto, but instead to leave some texture and body to it.

Scrape pesto from the food processor into a bowl and season with a few big pinches of salt.  Gently stir. It’s important to add enough salt. Once it’s seasoned properly, the flavor will really pop.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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