It’s not unusual to see kale in salads, soups, and smoothies … but in pesto? Yes please! For this Kale and Pine Nut Pesto, I swapped the basil for baby kale and then amped up the flavor with toasted pine nuts, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, Dijon mustard, a drizzle of honey, and mint.
Kale is a nutrient-dense addition to this pesto. I like to use baby kale, because it’s often sold pre-washed (so convenient!) and it’s tender. Whether you use baby kale or another variety, this vibrant green veggie is loaded with antioxidants (AKA plant compounds) like beta-carotene, vitamin C, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These antioxidants may help slow the effects of aging and reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders by counteracting cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Kale pesto is versatile. You can swirl it into soups, layer into lasagna or use as a sauce with pasta, slather onto sandwiches, use as a topping for grilled fish, chicken or roasted vegetables, or mix into plain Greek yogurt for a delicious dip.
Tune into EAT, DRINK, LIVE LONGER podcast this week to learn all about kale, one of my favorite anti-aging foods!
For this no-recipe pasta dish, I added sautéed shrimp and halved cherry tomatoes to rotini pasta and topped with a dollop of kale pesto.
- 2 packed cups baby kale leaves
- ½ cup lightly toasted pine nuts
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 to 4 tablespoons chopped mint leaves
- 1 small garlic clove
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon honey
- Heaping ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the kale, pine nuts, olive oil, Parmesan, mint, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, honey, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.
- Process until smooth. You may have to stop and start a few times, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Season with additional salt, pepper, lemon juice, and mint as desired.