Kale and Beets make delicious pesto

An inventive, new, mock ad campaign for a winter favorite: broccoli! by Victor and Spoils for the NY Times

It’s getting cold and wet out there! It’s time to enjoy some of those fall harvest favorites like kale, beets, carrots, spinach and more.

It may not be basil season but you can still enjoy pesto! Below are delicious ways to use those kale and beets, creating a fresh, seasonal pasta dish or dip.

Kale Pesto

1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped walnuts,sunflower seeds, almonds, or other nuts
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound kale, stems removed, coarsely chopped (1 medium bunch should do)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (less works fine)
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano or Asiago
ground black pepper to taste

Toast chopped nuts in a dry, heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over high heat, stirring constantly until they start to brown and become fragrant. Alternatively, place on a baking sheet and toast at 325 degrees. Keep an eye on nuts – they burn quickly and will get bitter!
Bring about two cups of water to a boil. Add a pinch of the salt, then add kale. Cook, uncovered, until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from pot and drain.
In a blender or food processor, add garlic, nuts and drained kale and whiz until well combined. Pour in oil in a steady stream, and pulse until combined. Add cheese, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, pulse, then taste. Add more salt to taste if necessary.
For 1/2 pound pasta, use 2-3 tablespoons pesto. Keeps really well in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to a week, or freeze for longer storage.
Makes about one cup. Adapted from “The Real Dirt on Vegetables” by John Peterson

Beet Pesto

3 large beets, roasted
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup nuts
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup grated hard cheese like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Romano or Asiago

Chop beets into quarters and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, nuts, lemon juice, cheese and pulse to combine. Slowly add the olive oil until all ingredients are well combined. Add salt to taste.
Makes about 1 1/2 – 2 cups.

Post contributed by Andrea Wood.


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