Kale pesto pasta with lemon-chilli breadcrumbs.


For the full recipe, click here: Jack Monroe’s kale pesto pasta recipe, The Guardian

Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack


  1. Your an angel Jack, as my daughter isn’t here I have a glut of Kale and Chard ( which I imagine are interchangeable for this) I can use some and freeze some for when she visits.
    Would be a handy addition to your garden and I’m happy to foreward seeds to you. Also reccomend lovage which I’ve had growing here for abt 30yrs. All I do is pick it and occasionally split it.
    If ever you find yourself in Liverpool and would like to visit my garden plot let me know and will arrange it. Doesn’t matter how comfortable we become, when you’ve known hunger or poverty you always remember and guard against it ever happening again. Keep fighting you are doing a great job xx

  2. Oh, this one comes a tad too late πŸ™‚ I’ve chopped, bagged and put in the freezer all my kale today (something between 600 and 700 g), as I didn’t know it could be used raw, too. I only ever use kale to make my favourite version of palak paneer, that is, Indian spinach without spinach (but with kale) and without paneer (I prefer tofu or nothing at all) – it gives me a great opportunity to play with spices πŸ™‚ and is lovely with rice …
    Your pesto recipe sounds good, though, so I’ll have to give it a try next time.

      • Yes, gladly:

        For 2 persons, I need:

        – 1 spoon clarified or 2 spoons olive oil
        – 1 spoon fast-cooking lentils
        – 1st batch of ground spices (chilli, cumin, coriander, curcuma …)
        – 1-3 tomatoes
        – some crumbled tofu
        – a huge quantity of washed, chopped kale πŸ™‚ (that would be 0,66-0,88 lb in my world if google isn’t lying)
        – 2nd batch of ground spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, allspice …)
        – 2-3 cups water
        – some cream (4 spoons)
        – salt and sugar

        First, I quickly roast the first batch of spices, lentils and tofu on fat. Meanwhile, tomatoes get chopped and added. I put the lid on and let them simmer at middle heat for 3 min. Then I put the second batch of spices into the pot, also salt and sugar and add kale and water. I let it all simmer at middle heat for approximately 20 minutes or till my hubby comes home, then I switch off the heat and pour the cream all over it and mix it and serve.

        (I don’t blend/mash my kale as required for palak paneer and of course one could add feta cheese or similar in the end πŸ™‚ I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but I find kale relatively cheap right now, in Southern Germany: I bought 1000 g = 2.20462 lb for 3,40 EUR = 2,91 GBP which is good because I don’t mind eating a lot of it at once, if possible.)

        I always serve it with basmati rice:

        2 espresso cups rice, washed
        3 espresso cups water and a pinch of salt

        all put together in a pot, waiting for 20 minutes for me to prepare my kale. When the kale is simmering, I switch on the stove and when the rice starts boiling, I take off the lid and let it simmer at low middle heat for exactly 5 minutes. Then switch off, lid on, ignore for another 15 minutes and in the end, you get this elegant, beautiful, tasty rice (also works with the parboiled rice, though I add 5 minutes at every step)

      • If you’re not a vegan, traditional Indian paneer is easy to make, it just takes lemon juice and whole milk. Heaps of recipies on the internet. It’s much tastier and more authentic in than tofu in Indian food

      • @Bunny Mc Britches: Yes, absolutely – I took the recipe for palak paneer from a book on Ayurvedic cooking and the recipe for paneer is a part of it – I just didn’t like it (I just can’t stand sour(ish) things though I adore some bitterness :-)). I also often leave out tofu, because I am basically just totally greedy about kale πŸ™‚
        @Penniless Veggie: The above recipe has been adapted in the process and I cannot really tell you the accurate quantities for everything, but I’d say it is worth experimenting (I tend to combine spices differently, add more cream in winter and more tomatoes in summer and so on – I was unhappy only once so far. Also, I may try to blend the kale next time, my hubby thought it was a good idea)

  3. According to guardian cif trolls, you should be putting lard in your pesto, what with one of them keeping his own pigs and having lots of it.
    I don’t know how you don’t run screaming from your computer. Asshats.

    Much love – Kale pesto sounds great – I can never get my lot to eat it cooked and it’s delish raw – I nick small leaves from an urban garden I pass in the mornings and munch them raw. I will be making this one, pronto.

    • I saw. The comments seem to have got a lot less vicious now that I’ve been there a few weeks; I think people are either getting it or getting bored of trolling. Imagine if my original recipe had contained lard, some commenters would have imploded with furious indignation. πŸ˜‰

      • Indeed – so far, nobody appears to have commented on your temerity for using a blender without permission from a chap or suggested that if you were married, your pesto would taste nicer. Stay zen.

      • Heard about your blog on Radio 4 You & Yours . I’m normally at work but my firm shuts down for 2 weeks over xmas/new year. Its a treat & makes me realize what I’m missing by being at work -valuable info such as your blog. I need to save even more money this year as my expenditure is greater than my income due to cost of living crisis so heating off ,layers of warm clothing on as usual but walking 3 miles to work from now on as bus fare/petrol no longer affordable.Can I pass on important advice about cooking lentils,gained during 34 years of reading cookery articles? Red lentils need to be boiled in water on hob for minimum of 10 minutes to remove toxins(1990s advice to cooks).Prior to that we thought it was only beans that had to be boiled & cooked thoroughly.Best Wishes,Ms.Carey Peacock.

    • Haha, ah the pig man, what a classic ‘Back to the Country’ with a half a million farm house in Kent episode that would make. Oh my, and I saw that furious little debate about lard and proper authentic Italian lard filled food too, and I quote: “I take it that you’ve never been to Moderna?” Honestly some of those folks just read like parodies!

  4. Quote: “why i dislike Jacks blog. the main one is that it justifies the pittance which many children and their parents are expected to subsist on.”

    Hmm, just wanted to flag this straw man up, it bothers me and in fact seriously offends me that poor people not supposed to share their stories and support one another, and particularly that efforts to do so are labelled “justification” for the situation that they and others like them find themselves in. Didn’t you get an article written by some Cambridge educated socialist twonk saying something very similar? I have a feeling that this is an argument that is going to keep rearing it’s head up. This is the reply I gave, but I think this particular issue probably needs a more detailed and assertive smack down.

    “No, Jack’s blog does not justify living on a pittance, you clearly haven’t read it if that’s what you think. People who volunteer at food banks, are not ‘justifying poverty’ they’re working to alleviate the symptoms of a system that creates it. People who volunteer at soup kitchens aren’t justifying poverty either, they’re doing the same. People who share their experiences of dealing with challenging financial situations on social media likewise. The day when marginalised people such as those in poverty cease working together to support one another and oppose the status quo (that is what Jack’s blog does) is the day we give up and allow social injustice to continue unchecked. If others co-opt such examples of solidarity among the poor and expropriate them in support of the status quo, that’s shitty and should be challenged, but it doesn’t mean that we should cease supporting one another and nor does it mean that we’re personally responsible for the cynical repurposing of our efforts and our stories to suit the agenda of a system we oppose.”

  5. Made this recently, and completely forgot to have the soft cheese ( a favourite ingredient!) and the crumbs. Used spring greens which needed using up too instead of kale. It was really lovely. Have discovered lots of lovely pestos recently! Will def be making this again πŸ™‚

    • I know this is a stupid question, but how “cabbagey” does it taste? I am put off by kale (had a bad experience once) but I love spring greens, but I wouldn’t want to be overwhelmed with a cabbage flavour.

  6. To all the smug and arrogant people who criticised this recipe in The Guardian you really have missed a treat here. I made this with pasta spirals and it looked sensational served on a white plate. The colour was amazing as were the different flavours and textures. I added some broken walnut pieces to the breadcrumb mixture and served it with parmesan shavings. The meal was a big hit with my husband and I would have been delighted to have been served this in restaurant.

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