Who was eating all the Kale before it found itself in the ‘superfood’ spotlight?! I had never heard of it until 2013 when it started popping up on my Instagram feed, amaro-filtered to the max in Nutribullets, and creeping onto the menus of some of my favourite hipster hangouts in East London.
After hearing from several friends that it wasn’t that appealing taste wise I’d been put off, but a friend that stayed with us whilst I was pregnant made us a salad in which she marinated it for a long time – with mustard and oil – amongst various other things to soften it. It was great and got me intrigued (Rissa please share your recipe with us!), but its taken me nearly a year to get round to experimenting with it myself (I’m sure any mums out there will relate to that! Where DOES the time go?!) I have pernicious anemia and so follow a healthy iron-rich diet, kale contains more iron that spinach so when shopping recently I decided to overcome this fear of the texture and bitterness and give it a go.
After a bit of experimenting I came up with this recipe which is a fab lunch or dinner. I have never been one for bland foods, no matter how healthy they are and the texture of kale is just too coarse to use it as a leaf, but blending it, and combining it with lemon not only brings out the flavours, but contains vitamin C which helps your body absorb the iron.
Once you get over the cut grass smell of the kale in the blender it is delicious, (honestly!) and so full of goodness. I also froze some of the kale ‘pesto’ and found after defrosting it, it tasted just as great the second time round, great for cooking in batches so you always have a healthy pasta sauce to hand!
Go check out the recipe and instructions below, its super easy and can be ready within 20 minutes- please do let me know what you think!
You will need:
- 100g Kale
- 50ml Olive Oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 2 large garlic cloves – grated or crushed
- Black pepper
- 1 tin of beans of your choice, my favourites for this dish are Butter Beans or Canellini Beans
- Pine nuts
- Pasta of your choice – I like using Linguini for this because the sauces coats the thin strands evenly and I think it matches the delicate nature of the Kale paste. The sauce will be about right for 6 servings of pasta.
Serves 6 // Freezer friendly
- Wash kale
- Put the kale, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice in blender. You may need to add the kale a bit at a time, depending on the size of your blender. (It will reduce down once it gets going just like spinach!) Blend until paste like. Depending on your blender you may need to add a little water. Set the kale mix aside.
- Cook your pasta.
- Whilst your pasta is boiling, toast the pine nuts and warm beans, then add the kale paste to heat it through
- When your pasta is cooked, add it to the sauce (I prefer to do it this way as I find I am able to judge the pasta/ sauce ratio better) and stir it through thoroughly
- Plate up and serve! (If you are following a vegetarian diet then you could add some grated cheese or for the vegans, the Violife ‘parmesan’ is excellent!)