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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Transfer to a bowl and top with additional almonds and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve with pitas, crackers, and/or veggies.