Posted by on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 in Veggie Dishes Everyone Loves

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.
White Bean & Kale Pesto Dip
Prep time
Total time
This simple dip makes delicious work of everyone’s favorite power-green, kale. Serve with veggies, artisan crackers, or crostini for a perfectly addicting appetizer.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Yield: About 4 cups
  • 3 cups white beans (cannelloni beans), cooked and drained
  • ½ cup kale-walnut pesto (recipe follows)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ – ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. In a 4-cup or larger food processor, pulse together the beans, pesto, lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt until smooth.
  2. Add additional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  3. Garnish with finely chopped walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired. Serve with crostini, pita chips, or veggies for dipping.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Kale-Walnut Pesto
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Condiment
Yield: 1 cup
  • ½ cup plain walnuts
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups kale, chopped
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Approx. ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  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. Add salt and pepper to taste.