White Bean & Kale Pesto Dip

So, kale. Totally a nutritional powerhouse and everyone sings its praises to the moon and back, but you know what? It’s kind of a weird green. I mean, I think I dig it. I sure try to dig it. I’ve been working it into more and more dishes, like a kale & fontina mac & cheese recipe I’ve been trying to develop for, oh, months now, but can’t get quite right enough to share.

I’ve had it in green smoothies. That was a little weird … I think I prefer spinach. I’ve made kale chips a half a dozen times and I find them kind of gross (the parts that are still just a little stringy and chewy and most assuredly non-chip-like) and execptionally addicting (the salty crispy pieces) all at the same time.

So I don’t even know. I’ve never tried to massage it, so maybe it’s just not playing nice with me.

I mean, I don’t hate it, I really don’t. I guess I’m just trying to say that, so far, I want to like it more than I do.

What a way to introduce a recipe where kale is one of the stars, eh? Here’s the thing, though. I really really like kale pesto. Sure, the kale is still a little bitter and all, but with garlic and Parmesan and walnuts and a little squeeze of lemon? I totally dig it.

So there is that. I make this pasta dish with kale pesto, for instance, and I pretty much inhale the stuff. Yum.

And this past weekend, I whipped up this pretty darn tasty dip with white beans and kale pesto.

It’s … actually pretty addicting. It’s garlicky, a little nutty, kind of tangy (thanks to all the lemon juice and balsamic vinegar I threw in there to counteract the bitterness of the kale), and it’s healthy! I especially love its green hue – totally perfect for the holidays, especially served up in a red dish.

Not too sure about kale? You know I feel ya. Try subbing out basil pesto instead of the kale pesto. And if you want to make the recipe even faster, you can even use store-bought pesto.

Print Recipe

White Bean & Kale Pesto Dip

Naturally green, utterly addicting, and the perfect way to sneak in a superfood. This dip is easy to make and even easier to eat.

Yield: 1 cup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, + a few more chopped walnuts for topping if desired
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups kale, lightly packed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Approx. 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans (or 2 15-ounce cans, drained)

Directions:

  1. Pulse the garlic in a food processor until finely chopped, then add the kale, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until chopped, turning off periodically and removing the top to press the kale down toward the blade if necessary.
  2. With the food processor running on low, pour the olive oil in in a steady stream until it forms a sauce. Add the lemon juice and pulse a couple more times.
  3. Scrape down the sides and add the beans, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Puree, adding more oil if necessary to obtain a smooth consistency. Taste and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and top with additional almonds and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve with pitas, crackers, and/or veggies.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

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13 Responses to “White Bean & Kale Pesto Dip”

  1. jodye @ chocolate and chou fleur posted on December 5, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I love to add a twist to a traditional pesto recipe. I’m sure the white beans lend a wonderful creaminess, and I do admit that I’m a bit of a kale fiend, so this recipe immediately caught my eye. I’ve added pistachios to pesto with quite stellar results in the past, if you’re looking for another variation!

    • Kare replied on December 10th, 2012 on 7:05 am

      Pistachios would be perfect in this! I’ve used pecans usually with spinach) and pepitas in addition to walnuts in pesto, but haven’t yet tried pistachios. Love that idea.

      I was turned off to pine nuts a few years ago after a bout with pine mouth, so I don’t use them in pestos (or anything). I’ll spare you the details (don’t worry, it’s more boring than gross!) but I just can’t bring myself to try them again!

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  3. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies posted on December 7, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I love the white bean pesto dip they sell at Trader Joe’s, so if this is anything like that, count me in! :D I think I could eat this with a spoon…

    • Kare replied on December 10th, 2012 on 7:07 am

      I’ve never tried the Trader Joe’s dip! Now I must … but I’ll be so annoyed if it’s better than this stuff. ;)

      Gah, I so love Trader Joe’s. What a fantastic place.

      • Tricia replied on March 18th, 2013 on 4:37 am

        Trader Joes is AWSOME! There hummus low fat is to beg for….;)

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  8. Mina posted on July 21, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    But… where are the white beans? Am I missing something?

    • Karen Raye replied on August 1st, 2014 on 8:04 am

      So sorry – I fixed the recipe!

  9. Erin posted on September 3, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Will it keep in the fridge? How long?

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