I knocked together this kale pesto after I found a bag of dark green leafy goodness in the reduced chiller in the supermarket, blitzed it in the blender with some other bits and blogged about it, and was inundated with kale chips and in-jokes from friends for months afterwards, including a full-page monstering in the Daily Mail by that bastion of healthy living, Richard Littlejohn, who claimed that ‘poor people don’t eat pasta, they eat spaghetti from tins’. Far be it from me to point out that spaghetti in tins is actually pasta, not to mention that kale was originally grown as cattle food, and that people in all sorts of circumstances do actually eat their greens! So if you fancy a side order of controversy with your lunch, fling this lot into a blender and feel suitably mollified that you might be doing something cheap and healthy, and irritating the Daily Mail in the process.
Makes 12 portions from 12p each . This post is not sponsored; I provide links to the ingredients that I use so you can see how I calculate my recipe costs, and I may earn a small commission if you click the links or purchase any ingredients. All prices correct at the time of printing and are subject to change.
1 fresh chilli or a pinch of the dried stuff, <1p
First, cut any tough stalks out of the kale and discard. Mine find their way into a small bowl by the sink for scraps for the rabbits, who are very well fed!
Next, slice the chilli if using a fresh one. Finely grate the cheese. Stuff as much kale as you can fit into a blender (you can add more later). Throw in the rest of the ingredients, then blend until the kale has turned into a vivid green pulp. Turn the blender off and carefully remove the lid.
Add any remaining kale, and blend again. Spoon the pesto into a clean jar, pour a little extra oil over the top to seal, and put on the lid.
The kale pesto will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week. Alternatively, freeze it in ice-cube trays – no need for any oil on top. You can serve it on spaghetti, with a pinch of extra chilli, or spread some on toast, top it with cheese and grill it.
You can make this without a blender if you don’t have one, but you will need a good sharp heavy knife. Simply chop the kale to smithereens, and grate the cheese finely, and mix it all together with the oil, water and chilli. It’s a little more work but the end result is pretty much the same.
Kale can be a strong flavour, which will soften if left in the oil and lemon juice overnight. I find this pesto tastes best the day after it is made, and used sparingly!
From ‘A Year In 120 Recipes‘ by Jack Monroe. Photography by Susan Bell.
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All text copyright Jack Monroe.