Kale Pesto with Pumpkin Seeds

November 11, 2010

Kale is the wonder veggie of the dark green family. It satisfies a multitude of vitamin requirements.Cooking them the way most recipes  require, depletes them of all these vitamin bennies. Married with  pumpkin seeds made a rich and earthy tasting pesto. Kale though rich in vitamins, has a bad reputation when it comes to taste,as it can be bitter. Eating it raw so as to not kill the goodness presented a challenge. Treating it as you would eggplant by salting  and allowing the kale to sit,then rinsing well works. What works even better is to massage the salt into the kale,breaking down the tough leaves.By definition “pesto” comes from the Italian verb “pistare” which means to pound. This is what you want to do – use those muscles! The results were a  creamy pesto that we ate in a multitude of ways. I would love to tell you how long it lasts, but it was gone in three days and tasted better each day. Of course as with most of my recipes things like salt are “to taste”.

  •  8 oz. of fresh kale (which I couldn’t find and had to buy bagged- so roughly half a bunch of what you get if your store has it).the nice thing about getting it bagged is that it was chopped and most of the very tough stems were not included.
  • 2 t. kosher salt
  • 3/4 C. toasted pumpkin seeds ( I bought them raw,and toasted them myself )
  • 1/3 C.  olive oil (do yourself a favor and buy the “good” kind)
  • 1/2 C. grated Parmesean cheese (Asiago works well too)
  • 1/2 C. water or vegetable broth.
  • 2 cloves garlic,diced
  • 1/2 t. pepper
  • 1/2 t. salt

Rinse your kale well and dry it as best you can. Sprinkle 1 T. kosher salt on the kale.Roll up your sleeves and rip and massage that kale.Get out all your frustrations.Breaking it down gives it a better taste. Let it sit for about an hour.Rinse well and let dry.

All relaxed and ready to be made into a beautiful pesto!

Toast your pumpkins seeds in a saute pan.I added a bit of garlic pepper to mine.Toast on low- they burn EASILY! When you hear them starting to pop take them off of the heat,and leav them in the pan to cool.

Put the kale and broth in your blender or processor.Truthfully this is best made in a processor because it is so dense. If you don’t have one make sure you put the liquid in with your kale or… you will ruin your blender which is what happened to me! SO I apologize for not having detailed pics of the blending process – but since this is so tasty and to show that you can still salvage things when something goes awry- I am posting it today anyway!

Add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese and oil. Slowlllly add your oil in a thin stream until it is nice and creamy.I add the cheese and blend it a bit,some prefer to just stir in the shredded cheese. I like to blend it as it makes a less lumpy pesto and allows you to add less salt.

Served this night over thin slices of pork tenderloin,garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds.Accompanied by roasted acorn squash stuffed with wild rice and cranberries,making a beautiful fall presentation.



  1. I can’t wait to try this one, with the squash etc. Looks super scrumptious.

  2. What a pleasant surprise~!! I have never tried kale. I read that kale is full of Vitamin A. The toasted pumpkin seeds offered a great taste in this recipe. I am going to tweak this recipe very little only b/c of the salt and make again. I must admit that I love the flavors here more than my own spinach pesto recipe. 🙂

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