>Pesto with Kale and Peanuts – What!?


I got this lovely bunch of dark green kale in my produce box this week.  Kale is not something that I would normally purchase on my own – not because I dislike it, but because I never know exactly what to do with it.  Saute it?  Roast it?  Steam it?  Turn it into kale chips?  All good choices, but not really what I was in the mood for.
I’m not generally a pesto kind of gal, but for some reason I was in the mood for a good spicy pesto today.  Usually I wouldn’t consider it, since my dear husband is allergic to all tree nuts (which I assume includes pine nuts, although we’ve never risked anaphylaxis to find out).  Since I was using kale as my green element instead of basil or spinach, I figured I could sub out the pine nuts or walnuts for something different, too.  Oddly enough, hubby is not allergic to peanuts, so I thought I’d give them a whirl. 

Pesto Ingredients:
1 bunch kale, stems removed and blanched
1 cup raw peanuts, toasted
4 cloves garlic
zest and juice of one lemon
1/ 4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4-1/2 cup olive oil (depending on how loose you want your pesto)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine kale, peanuts, garlic, lemon zest and cheese in the bowl of a food processor.  Turn on and let run until ingredients are finely chopped.  Add lemon juice and turn the food processor back on.  Slowly stream olive oil through the feed tube of the food processor while it is running until it reaches the proper consistency.  Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as desired.

I served half this batch over some sweet potato and whole-wheat gnocchi that I made.  I won’t share the gnocchi recipe here, since it wasn’t all that good (nor was it very visually appealing, as is evidenced by the photo at left).  I mean, it was palatable and we ate it, but I wouldn’t do it again.  It went fine with the broiled tilapia I prepared as our protein.  The other half I reserved in the fridge and will most likely serve it over pasta and/or chicken later in the week.
The flavor of the pesto was excellent.  It had a distinct green flavor, and the peanuts did not overpower it at all.  The garlic was definitely present, but not so much that it overtook the dish.  Overall it had a nice nutty flavor, brightened by the lemon zest and juice and rounded out by the spiciness of the garlic.  I will definitely make this again.

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