Traditional pesto is one of my favorite things, ever. Ever. The basil, the pine nuts, all of it. When I lived in Florence there was this little shop right near our building, and I would stop in there and get a loaf of fresh bread and some insanely scrumptious pesto. We would sit around and eat it as a dip while we prepared dinner. Sometimes it actually made it INTO the meal. It was that good. Then there was a sandwich shop around the corner that would slather it (in the most precisely, perfect amount) on a turkey panino. Don’t get me started on the little pillows of heaven, gnocchi, dancing around in the gorgeous green stuff. I couldn’t get enough.
Sometimes though, you just need to put a twist on the classics.
One thing I enjoy about pesto is its versatility. You can make infinite versions, changing it up to suit your tastes. I’ve made several different pestos over the years since my time in Firenze, and this is one of my new favorites. You get the bold kale flavor complimented by the subtleness of the walnuts. It’s simply balanced and so easy to make.
This variation is vivacious and vegan. You can’t go wrong.
Get your hands on some fresh, colorful, organic curly kale. Remove from the ribs and wash and dry well, and tear into large pieces.
- 4 Cups Curly Kale
- 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
- 1/2- 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Clove Garlic
- Remove the kale from the ribs and wash and dry well and rip into large pieces. Place the kale in a food processor or Vitamix. Drop in clove of garlic, then evenly distribute walnuts over top of kale. Pour half of the olive oil over the mix and close the lid. Turn on the food processor and blend until smooth. Add olive oil until desired consistency. It should be smooth and spreadable (like a thick hummus). Can be kept in airtight container for several days or you can portion and freeze for later.
- Add more olive oil if needed while blending.
- I like to drizzle a fresh stream of olive oil just before serving as well.
Although this pesto is raw and vegan, I wanted to add some extra veggie power to my turkey burger. So, I added a heap, then freshly shaved some Pecorino to finish it off. Serve on a toasted onion roll, or all on its own, with a side of sautéed veggies, like summer squash.
It is such a versatile pesto, you can use is on side dishes to jazz them up, spread it on a fresh baguette, or as a base on your pizza instead of red sauce. The possibilities are endless. What would you do?
Now for some exciting info! Our friends at I Heart Olive Oil have been kind enough to offer a bottle of their new, super premium olive oil to annaDishes readers. If you’d like a chance to win a bottle of the delectable nectar, leave a comment below letting me know how you’ll use the olive oil.
I love to dip a crispy baguette and top it with fresh, creamy mozzarella and a dash of salt and pepper. You really get to savor the bold flavor of the olive oil, which pairs beautifully with the creaminess of the mozzarella.
Contest is for one bottle of olive oil, pictured above, to be shipped to winner from Lilikoi and Co.
Winner will be chosen at random. Contest ends at 12:00pm (EST) on July 16th 2014.
If you’d like more information, or to order the outrageously, organically awesome oil, visit Lilikoiandcompay here.
Happy Dishing (and dipping!)