You Can Do It: Kale Pesto

I love pesto.

Pesto, for me, brings back memories of my junior year in Italy. Of friends and laughs and love and long, lingering dinners where we’d hang our legs over the Arno bridge at sunset and dream of the future.

Pesto is divine.

I don’t often make pesto in the wintertime since basil (the base for traditional italian pesto) isn’t growing like a weed in my garden. So, the other day when a sweet friend told me about making pesto with kale instead of basil, I knew I had to try it… and then: I fell in love.

Here we go:

Special tools:

  • Food processor with the blade attachment
  • microplane (or other fine cheese grater)
Simple ingredients

Simple ingredients

  • 1 bunch of organic kale (remember: kale is one of the ‘dirty dozen‘, so always buy organic)
  • 1 handful organic arugula
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano regianno
  • 1/4 cup of raw walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves (peeled)
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Chop off and discard the bottom two inches of your kale bunch, and then rough chop the rest.

Place half of the chopped kale into the food processor and chop until fine, like this:

DSC09057Then add in the remaining kale and chop until no large pieces of kale remain, like this:

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Add in the arugula, walnuts, whole garlic cloves, and parmesan (and yes, it’s okay if there are some larger hunks of the cheese):

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Re-cover and chop and chop for approximately 8-10 seconds.

Next, add in the zest of the lemon (approximately 1 tsp), juice from 1/2 of the lemon, salt, and pepper.

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Re-cover, and then, with processor ‘on’, slowly drizzle in your olive oil until mixture is smooth and ‘pasty’. And, when you’re all done, it should look like this:

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Now, what do you do with it you ask? I say: what don’t you do with it!

Pesto isn’t just for pasta, even though I think that’s what most people think of when they hear ‘pesto’. To the contrary: think of pesto like a condiment – something to add a punch of flavor to just about anything. (It’s like a cousin to Argentinian chimicurri.)

You can toss potatoes in it or vegetables in it, like I did with these leftover brussels sprouts from last night’s dinner:

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You can toss quinoa in it (which I LOVE to do) and use it as a bed for a perfectly fried egg:

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You can use it as a dip for raw veggies, like I did for my cherry tomatoes today:

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You can slather it on a piece of toasted, rustic bread with a little turkey and brie…

You can add it to soup, or meatballs, or use it as a spread for grilled steak or a hamburger…

You can even mix it with a really yummy yogurt to make a perfect yogurt dipping sauce like this:

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(For the yogurt dipping sauce, use 1 part kale pesto and 1 part yogurt and mix until incorporated. The Straus yogurt is hands down my favorite yogurt to use for this type of mixture because the texture is looser than most, and also because Straus uses real sweet cream buttermilk, which gives a delicious tang to the dip.)

The key is this: just make it. Once you taste it, I promise you’ll invent ways to creatively get it into your mouth.

Be forewarned, though… pesto brings on some serious garlic breath; it’s simply the price we have to pay for the amazing flavor pesto brings. But, no worries! Thanks to visual.ly, you’ll see what garlic is great for our health – but also how to kill the impending garlic breath 🙂

Garlic - Amazing Natural Cure for Your Health

by stedas.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

And, there you have it! You can do it kale pesto.

Thanks for being here – and I hope you’re leaving inspired.

Last Minute Dinner Idea: Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Soup

Contrary to popular belief, I’m often totally unprepared for dinner. Take last night, for example. At about 5:30 I was talking to my man on his drive home when he asked the typical question every man asks after a long day at work, “So, what’s for dinner?”

“Not sure yet,” I responded. “I was just figuring that out.”

He laughed. “It’s crazy, isn’t it? It just keeps happening… every single night. We just don’t stop needing to eat!”

Yep – every night. There is no rest for the weary.

BUT – while I am not always totally sure what I’ll be making, I am always very confident that I have the right things on hand to create something healthy, filling, and satisfying. This is where our ‘staples’ come in.

You can probably see from the recipes I post that much of what I cook is made of pretty simple ingredients: quinoa, leafy greens and other vegetables, beans, eggs, fruit, herbs. Some meats, lots of fish (although I haven’t posted many of these yet). You’ll also see a lot of olive oil, coconut milk, greek yogurt, and spices of various sorts.

We like simple.

We like clean.

I like ingredients that can be mixed and matched and it won’t take me two pages of directions to explain the recipe to my girlfriends.

So, here’s one of those types of recipes for you – one that you can throw together and have served in less than 30 minutes: Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean, Quinoa Soup. (You should know: I was a inspired by a recipe I had seen on Oh She Glows.)

Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Soup: Instant Dinner!

Kale, Sweet Potato, Black Bean Quinoa Soup: Instant Dinner!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (NOTE: you can also use a small shallot for a lighter flavor)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and mashed
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and cut into bite sized pieces (NOTE: when you use kale, you want to trim off the bottom half of the stems and discard them)
  • 3 palm sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized chunks (I used WHITE sweet potatoes… but you could also use other varieties, I’m sure)
  • 2 cups of broth
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 cans of organic black beans, drained and rinsed (NOTE: canned beans are gold to a mama. Be sure when you buy them there are no preservatives; the label should simply say “beans, water” (and maybe “salt”)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups pre-cooked quinoa (You know: gotta ALWAYS have the precooked quinoa on hand when you’re cooking with me!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • To Garnish: fresh avocado, cherry tomatos, cilantro, and jalapeño
  1. Heat a soup pot and add olive oil. When hot, add diced onion and garlic. Stir constantly to prevent burning.
  2. After about a minute or two (when onion is translucent), add in chopped kale. Saute the kale for about two minutes, tossing occassionally so that all leaves have been fully coated in oil.
  3. Add in the diced sweet potato and cumin. Stir entire mixture to coat. Add in the broth and the water; turn heat up to medium high and bring to a rapid boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium, cover, and let simmer for about 5 minutes. (This is a great time to prepare your garnishes.)
  4. After 5 minutes, check your potatoes for tenderness with a fork. (If they are still too firm to pierce with a fork, allow to simmer another couple of minutes. NOTE: you want the potatoes soft, but not mushy.) Once tender, add in your black beans, cooked quinoa, a little salt and a little pepper, and stir to mix completely.
  5. DONE!
A Beautifully Simple Soup

A Beautifully Simple Soup

TO SERVE: Ladle out the soup into bowls and then time for the magic to happen: with garnishes. The soup is amazing by itself – but it goes to a whole new level when you top it with fresh chopped cilantro, halved cherry tomatoes, diced fresh avocado, and (if you have it) diced fresh jalapeños.

The Magic is in the Garnishes...

The Magic is in the Garnishes…

Isn’t that easy? The best part is, like I said at the beginning, it’s made with things you can always keep as a ‘staple’ in your home. Because remember: if we can be sure of anything, it is this: we need to eat every night! And, with a recipe like this in hand, there’s never an excuse to ‘not be prepared’ with something that will power up you and your tribe up for greatness.

Let me know if you make it!

I’m thrilled you’re here with me…

Rebel on,
Elisha

 

 

 

 

Quinoa, Kale, Lentil Soup for a Cold Night…

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Last night I made this amazing soup that wow’d the family… so I thought you should have it. I mean, who doesn’t love a savory warm soup on a cold January night?!

And don’t worry: the hardest part of this recipe is literally having the ingredients on hand. This is me, remember: if it doesn’t cook quick and easy, I’m probably not making it. LOL

Here ya go… let me know how it turns out!

  • approx 1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
  • 1.5 cups dried lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • 1 small bunch of kale, stems trimmed off and diced
  • 1 cup chopped carrots (I used the bite sized carrots and cut them into little circles)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups pre-cooked quinoa
  1. Warm a soup pot and add the EVOO.
  2. Saute the onion for about a minute then add the garlic. Continue to saute (stirring constantly so the garlic doesn’t burn) until onion is translucent.
  3. Add the dry lentils to the pot.
  4. Add broth,  cumin, soy sauce, and black pepper. Bring pot to a boil, then cover and turn down to medium low to simmer until beans are tender. This should take about 10-15 minutes… so start keeping an eye on them after about 10 minutes. (You don’t want it to crazy boil because it will demolish the beans. Just a gentle simmer is what you’re looking for.)
  5. When beans are tender, add the chopped kale and carrots. Push all the veggies down into the beans, recover, and simmer for 5 or so more minutes (until veggies are tender). If you need a little more liquid so that everything submerges, add a little extra water. You want the soup thick, but still soupy.
  6. Remove from heat and serve!

DSC02817To serve: dish up 1/2 cup quinoa and ladel 1 cup soup over the top for bigger eaters (or 1/4 cup quinoa to 1/2 cup soup for smaller eaters). Top off with some ground chili paste or crushed red chili peppers. Lick your lips… enjoy!

Rebel on,

Elisha