Kale pesto is great with whole-grain pasta, but it’s also wonderful when spread on sandwiches or mixed in a grain salad. The kids might love it in scrambled eggs or mixed in some rice.
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic
- 3 cups packed kale (about 1 small bunch)
- ¾ cup hemp seeds or toasted walnuts
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
- ¾ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Red pepper flakes, optional (if you want to add some kick)
- ¼ cup flaxseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil (more if desired)
- 1 pound (16 ounces) whole grain pasta
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
Make the pesto: In a food processor, add the peeled garlic cloves and process until the garlic is minced. Add the kale, hemp seeds, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the oil. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more lemon, salt or pepper if necessary. (You can thin out the pesto with more oil, but if you’re serving with pasta, keep in mind that you can also thin it out with reserved pasta cooking water.)
Cook the pasta (optional): Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Reserve one cup cooking liquid before draining the pasta. Let the pasta and pasta water cool for a minute to make sure the high heat doesn’t damage the flax oil pesto.
If you intend to have leftovers, transfer the amount of pasta you think you’ll be eating immediately to a serving bowl and mix in pesto with splashes of cooking water. Otherwise, you can mix the pasta and pesto together in your cooking pot, adding splashes of cooking water as necessary. Keep in mind that you have diluted the flavor a bit with the cooking water, so taste and add more lemon, salt or a drizzle of olive oil as necessary.