By Amy Saltzman
My CSA hasn’t started yet, but I’m already thinking about how to use those spring greens. Don’t get me wrong – I like salad. I’ve learned to braise greens. And the internet has provided me with some great recipes for kale and other assorted greens: kale chips, sweet potato and kale soup, green smoothies, and cauliflower and kale soup. This week, though, I was invited to a Saturday evening potluck, and I was looking for something easy to make, transportable, and vegan, and I knew right away what I wanted to try: kale pesto.
I scanned a few recipes prior to making my own version, and my conclusion is that you can use what you want/have on hand – my favorite kind of recipe.*
5 large kale leaves, ribs removed, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, toasted
3 garlic cloves
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 c olive oil (or amount needed for desired consistency)
salt and pepper to taste
Toast walnuts, cool.
Wash and remove stems from kale.
Add garlic and walnuts to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
Add kale, lemon juice, and olive oil. Process until smooth.
Taste, season, and add additional oil if desired.
Toss with lentils or pasta. Yields about 1.5 c. pesto.
Because I needed to make my potluck dish ahead of time, I opted to use lentils as the vehicle for the kale pesto. Truthfully, it was not the most aesthetically pleasing dish I’ve ever made, but it was tasty (and enjoyed by vegans and meat eaters alike).
You could also try pasta, quinoa, or another grain or legume. The variations are limitless! If I get dandelion greens in my CSA this year (I’m normally not a huge fan of their bitterness), I know exactly where they’re going – into pesto with a hunk of pecorino.
Amy Saltzman is an avid gardener and cook in DC. She is a member of the Lancaster County Farm Fresh and North Mountain Pastures CSAs.