Pesto is an amazing, simple and highly nutritious way to use your grow tower greens! The great thing about this recipe is that it's versatile. Feel free to replace the kale with basil or even arugula. If you desire a more traditional feel to pesto but still want to get the awesome nutrients from kale, replace half of the kale in this recipe with basil! Nuts are also interchangeable here: pine nuts, cashews or even sunflower seeds, for those with nut allergies, will all work here!
1 large clove garlic
1/3 cup whole almonds (soaked or sprouted preferred for added nutrients and easier digestion)
2 cups chopped kale (de-stemmed*), moderately packed
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt + pepper to taste
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Place whole garlic clove on a dry pan on medium-high heat to toast both sides for a minute or two, being careful not to burn garlic (let your nose be your guide). This helps to mellow out the garlic a bit and adds a toasty flavor.
Place toasted garlic, almonds, or nut of choice, in a food processor or high speed blender with pulse feature, and pulse until nuts and garlic are finely chopped.
Add in chopped kale and process until finely chopped and pasty, scraping down the sides as needed (you may need to do this several times depending on your machine).
Add the olive oil** in a slow stream while the machine is running and process until a smooth pesto forms, scraping down the sides as needed.
Pour your pesto into desired dish/jar, stir in salt and pepper to taste (recommend starting with 1/4 teaspoon), and add a squeeze of lemon to keep it fresh and give it a zesty flavor!
Enjoy with your favorite pasta, mix with some mayo for a pesto aioli, or put a dollop on top of chicken, pork or a fried egg!
Store any leftovers in the fridge in an air-tight container with some extra virgin olive oil on top and another squeeze of lemon, to cover the pesto. Clear plastic wrap directly on the pesto is helpful to keep it from oxidizing.
*For a simple and delicious pasta recipe, and to not waste those stems, try finely chopping them and sautéing in some extra virgin olive oil for a few minutes over medium heat, then add in some more chopped kale. Sauté the kale until soft and slightly wilty, add your favorite cooked pasta in the pan, and then pour the pesto over the pasta while the pasta is still warm. Mix all together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Recipe photo above is garnished with fresh sage flowers. Enjoy!
**This pesto is more on the runny side, which is great for pasta. For a spread (i.e. on a sandwich) or dip, you may want to scale back on the amount of olive oil.