Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pest-faux: Kale and Roasted Garlic Pesto

I’m in a chilly community center gym. The smell of burnt coffee, thick in the air, barely covers the stale sweat still lingering from basketball games gone by. Metal folding chairs groan with the tiniest of movements. I stand up nervously, my palms slick with sweat.

Hi, my name is Amanda…and I have a problem. I…I am addicted to beauty products.

Hello, Amanda! A chorus of similarly inclined individuals greets me.

While this scenario is completely imaginary, my affection for, and obsession with, beauty products is not. I often open my bathroom cabinets looking for something specific only to have different bottles, tubes, and jars come toppling out. Naturally, what I was searching for is nowhere to be found. Right there I swear to myself that I am done. No more. I am through buying these stupid things!

And then, one way or another, I find myself sidling up to the makeup counter. Again. Greeting an eager saleswoman while ogling the latest shade of eye shadow.

Or meandering along the hair care aisle. My fingers lightly tracing the brightly colored bottles. Fluorescent lights buzzing overhead, just begging me to buy yet another bottle of thermal styling spray.

But I don’t cave. I don’t. I think about the drawers in my bathroom, the stacks in the hall closet. Teaming with products I could never hope to finish in this lifetime, no matter how much hairspray I use.

Lately, I’ve been feeling that way about kale. I buy a bundle at the grocery store because it is cheap and delicious and filling. Yet, no matter how much I eat, no matter how much I sauté with garlic or throw in salads it is still there! Kale. Looming in my crisper drawer. The bunch never getting any smaller.

Staring at the kale, not wanting to eat another salad, I think about spinach. And arugula. And how I’ve taken those greens and blended them with nuts, cheese, garlic, and olive oil and created a delicious homemade pesto. A spread that brightens up any dish and makes a meal feel just a little more special.

A departure from traditional basil pesto, this Kale and Roasted Garlic Pesto, or pest-faux rather, is earthy and rich. The slivered almonds are delicate next to this hearty green, the cheese provides a salty finish, and the roasted garlic brings a much needed sweetness to the dish.

Kale and Roasted Garlic Pesto (makes approximately 1 and ½ cups of pesto)

4 cups loosely packed kale, stems and spines removed

6 – 8 cloves roasted garlic*

1/3 cup slivered almonds

1/3 – ½ cup grated parmesan romano cheese

Olive oil, to taste

In the bowl of a food processor combine the kale, garlic, nuts, and cheese. Being to pulse and slowly stream in olive oil until pesto reached desired consistency (I ended up using about ½ - 2/3 of a cup).

Store pesto in airtight container for one week or freeze in an ice cube tray for later use.

*to roast garlic: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Layer a piece of parchment paper on top of a sheet of aluminum foil. Cut of top of an entire head of garlic and place, cut side up, on parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in paper, then foil. Place in preheated oven and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until garlic cloves are golden, soft and fragrant. Allow to cool before making pesto.

Toasted bread and pesto > salad


  1. Made this today using pine nuts instead of almonds, and added in a bit of fresh lemon juice too. Tossed with some pasta and it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

    1. I've never put pine nuts in a pesto actually! They're a little bit out of my price range right now. So happy you liked the recipe. It freezes beautifully too!