Real Food for Real Moms: Kale Pesto


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Tyson and I!

Tyson - Reindeer

Wow, the last year flew by.  At this time one year ago I was 8 months pregnant and focused only on how my life was about to change completely.  I didn’t need to make any resolutions – I figured I already had enough challenges ahead of me for the year that I didn’t need extra resolutions on top of it!

Admittedly I’m not one for making official New Year’s resolutions anyways.  I try to have goals and make commitments for improvement throughout the year because it makes things a little more manageable.  However, there’s something about the start of a new year that motivates me to be extra healthy with the goal of feeling somewhat cleansed.   I’m sure the number of cookies I ate over the holidays also has something to do with it!

We are finally back home in Toronto after being away for two weeks, which means I have been able to stock my fridge full of lots and lots of real and healthy food.  A few days ago we received our first order of the winter from Front Door Organics.  Over the summer we received a bi-weekly CSA box from a local farm, giving us access to lots of fresh, local and organic produce.  That ended in October, and I had wanted to replace it with some sort of produce delivery over the winter.  Organic produce is harder to find in the grocery store over the winter and I find that having vegetables delivered to my door forces me to find ways to use them, which ultimately means we eat more veggies.  Obviously  most of the food we get over the winter is not local, but it is still organic and the prices are reasonable.  You can also order tons of other items besides produce.  This week our order included a variety of greens, a variety of fruit (including a pomegranate – yum!), some potatoes, onions, a butternut squash, and mushrooms.  Oh, and they threw in a free loaf of bread from ACE Bakery, which was a delicious surprise.

Good Food

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Being in my own kitchen, with more healthy food, and less of the temptation foods at my fingertips (other than the candy cane bark from Santa – which is actually staring me down from the cupboard right now!) is so important for me to eat clean and feel good.  I spent the last couple of days cooking and prepping food so that the healthy food is readily accessible, making it easier to get back on track.

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With that in mind, I wanted to share a recipe that I came up with shortly before Christmas – hence the Christmas-y vibe of the photo.  This Kale Pesto was created purely out of my attempt to clean out my fridge before the holidays, and I needed a quick and easy dinner.  Sometimes the best recipes are born when I am trying to use up leftovers!   You could basically use this recipe as a template and then throw in whatever greens, herbs and nuts you have to use up, and I don’t think you can really go wrong.  I didn’t have a chance to post it earlier, but I made a variation of it again this week because it is so simple and can be used in so many ways.

Oh Kale, how I love thee!  You might not have thought about using kale in pesto, but it’s a great way to introduce it into your life if you haven’t tried it yet.  It’s definitely not your typical pesto but the flavour is unique and different and it’s a great way to get a big serving of greens into your day. Kale scares a lot of people because it’s so much different from most leafy greens in terms of texture and taste – although I do think  it is starting to become a little more mainstream.  I started eating it a few years ago because of the health benefits, but nowadays I eat A LOT of it because I actually do think it is super delish.  And so does Tyson – most days!  I’m not going to get too in-depth into my love affair with kale right now because have a post on this super veggie coming up in a couple of weeks, so let’s just get to the recipe.

Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: none

Ingredients

1/2 cup of almonds or walnuts
3 cups of kale (or other greens)
1 cup of fresh cilantro*
1 cup of fresh mint*
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp salt

Optional add-ins:
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
a pinch of hot pepper flakes
minced garlic (amount is at your discretion!  I don’t like raw garlic so I don’t include it but I know most people consider it mandatory in pesto)

Directions

1.  Put almonds into the food processor and puree until finely ground.
2.  Add in remaining ingredients.  Mix until fairly smooth.

Notes:
*Definitely feel free to use whatever herbs you have on hand.  Any combination of basil, oregano, mint, cilantro or parsley would be delicious.

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There are so many ways to enjoy this pesto.  The first time I made it, I mixed it in with pasta noodles with fresh tomatoes and sliced olives.  It was amazing.  I’ve also had it on eggs, with steamed veggies, used it as a dip with crackers, and mixed with some vinegar and used as salad dressing.  You could also use it on sandwiches, pizza, or spread onto some chicken for baking. I suggest that you consider doubling the recipe when you make it.

So this is the kind of thing you are going to see from most of my recipes – food that is multi-functional, simple, nutritious and delicious.  I definitely don’t have time for fancy recipe creation with an almost-one year old and I’m sure that most of my readers don’t have time for fancy recipe preparation either, so I think  it works out!

Well, back to real life!. With Jon back at work and no family around I no longer have the luxury of multiple sets of hands to watch Tyson.  Why do holidays always go so quickly?

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions?  If so, is healthy eating on your list after the holidays?

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13 comments

  1. sandrakohlmann

    I think I’m going to make pizza using this pesto as the sauce. It looks so great! Thanks for linking up on Vegan Mother Hubbard!

  2. mamajohnston

    I used to only really like spinach but now my go to green is always kale! Awesome that your son loves it. I hope to get my little boy to like a fresh variety too when he gets old enough to eat solids :)

  3. christineandrich

    Hi Sarah, Thanks for liking my page. i love yours! I’m a foodie and love healthy food! With a newborn I’ve been thinking of healthy meals for her and my hubby and since I moved from the states (where I literally “lived” in Whole Foods) to Korea my goal is to get comfy again with shopping for the products I like to cook with. This pesto sounds fantastic and oh-so-doable!!!! Thanks! And by the way, Tyler is a cutie!

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