I know. But I warned you! Hey, at least it’s not grilled again. Nope, raw indeed. Raw Kale Cashew Pesto! And it is yummy, my friends. Yummy!
I’m actually shocked how well the kale has held up in the extremely high temperatures we’ve been experiencing; although the kind I grow, Tuscan Kale (or ‘Nero Di Toscana’ Cabbage), is known for its resilience. And superb flavor. I also find it easier to use than the curly stuff.
Like most things in the garden, I start it from seed indoors. They’re transplanted out into a 30-inch bed, 2 rows, 18-inch spacing. Like the rest of the Brassica plants, I grow it under row cover because we have major cabbage worms. I simply pull leaves starting from the bottom as we need them. They have been flawless so far. Hard not to love such an undemanding plant friend. Seriously, sometimes I just sit and stare at its perfection.
I’m typically a purist when it comes to pesto. The first time I made this Kale Cashew Pesto, I hadn’t even intended on sharing it, but I really enjoyed the flavor. Slightly nuttier, sweeter, and earthier than the (well, my) original. I swapped out the pine nuts for cashews (roasted) because I thought their rich creaminess would play well with the kale. And I have this weird thing for alliteration :). I went for baby leaves because they are more tender and less bitter. I couldn’t help not adding a little basil, and of course some freshly-grated, aged parm—something I always have stocked in the kitchen.
And you can do so many things with this pesto! Toss it with pasta. Spread it on some crusty french bread. Or eat it straight outa the jar like me (on my finger).
Kale Cashew Pesto
- 1/2 cup cashew toasted
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- cup kale chopped and packed tight
- 1 cup basil chopped and packed tight
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Although a mortar and pestle gives the best texture, ain't nobody got time for that!
- Add toasted nuts and garlic to food processor. Pulse until mixture looks like a fine crumb.
- Add kale and basil pulse until minced.
- Add Parmesan and lemon juice and pulse until combined.
- Lastly, add olive oil and pulse until just combined.