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Kale Power — Kale and Sunflower Seed Pesto

July 3, 2012

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Michael Pollan

This one is for kale lovers.  I know.  I am one of them.  Until not too long ago, I did not have the slightest idea of its existence; or lets just say, it did not visit my produce bag.  But once I tasted it, I was hooked on the amazing wonders of kale like most health enthusiasts.

Kale is known by several flattering names–Queen of Greens, Powerhouse of Nutrients, King of Greens.  These days kale is one of the most talked about super foods.  From soups and stews to salads and stir fries, it has found its way in every possible form of cooking.  Kale juice anyone?  How about kale chips for a healthy snack?  And if that’s not enough, just puree these hearty leaves to transform them into pesto.  Now that opens up several more ways to enjoy its versatility.  Stir it in pasta, spread it on breads and crackers, or thin it a little to make dressings.  If nothing appeals, a few spoonfuls as is works for me.

Speaking of pesto, I made this recipe with sunflower seeds instead of nuts.  Sunflower seeds provide fair share of good fats, and they also give it a rustic texture.  I left cheese out making it a vegan option.  But if you prefer cheesy flavor, add some pecorino or parmigiano.  Good olive oil, lemon, and garlic with a few grinds of sea salt makes it absolutely delicious.  Store in refrigerator and enjoy.


1 medium bunch kale, stems removed
1 large clove of garlic
½ cup unsalted roasted sunflower seeds
Juice of one large lemon
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper (optional)
½ cup olive oil

Put kale leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds.  Drain in a colander, and run cold water over to stop the cooking process.  Squeeze kale to remove water completely.

In a food processor, pulse garlic a couple times.  Add sunflower seeds and pulse again 2-3 times.  Add kale, lemon juice, salt, pepper and puree.  Drizzle oil while the machine is running.  Puree it to desired consistency.

Adjust lemon and salt.  If the pesto is too thick for your taste, add a little water.


25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2012 5:31 pm

    What a great new way to fall in love with kale all over again! I think I’m gonna bake up a batch of kale chips to serve up with a side of kale power pesto — thanks for the inspiration!

    • simple sustenance permalink*
      July 12, 2012 9:36 pm

      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hope you enjoy the kale pesto.

  2. August 30, 2012 10:12 am

    I love kale and thanks for the ideas here. You have a beautiful blog and thank you for visiting mine

  3. August 30, 2012 6:55 pm

    Thanks for stopping by. Kale is such a healthy green and there are so many ways to enjoy it.

  4. March 20, 2013 11:03 am

    Kale was for centuries a staple vegetable in Scotland as it can be grown in poor soils and cold conditions. Some of our writers, who stayed in rural areas and wrote novels about Scotland, were in the past often referred to, in a derogatory manner, as Kailyard writers.

    In more recent years it has been considered a food from the past that we are happy to ditch for more ‘modern’ vegetables ie those flown in from elsewhere. When I come across it occasionally in winter I do buy it but I never realised you could make pesto with it. That is fantastic. I’m going to print out this article and keep it so that next time I buy kale I can try it.

    • March 21, 2013 12:51 am

      Thanks for sharing this interesting information about kale. I will read about it a little more. It is quite popular here these days. We often see it in so many recipes.

  5. March 20, 2013 11:05 am

    Hope you don’t mind, going to reblog too.

  6. March 20, 2013 11:05 am

    Reblogged this on jingsandthings and commented:
    For too long we have turned up our noses at kail. Time to reappraise it.

  7. March 20, 2013 4:16 pm

    My husband and I have recently become big fans of kale. We pretty much buy it every week and use it in stir fries, soups, eggs and smoothies. I’m going to try this pesto.

    • March 21, 2013 12:29 am

      Kale has several health benefits. Good that you have been enjoying it regularly. Hope you like the pesto. Would love to hear your thoughts.

  8. March 20, 2013 5:54 pm

    Your recipe sounds dee~licious, I can’t wait to try it !!!

  9. March 21, 2013 12:44 pm

    Great idea! Love the beautiful emerald color.

  10. March 25, 2013 5:24 pm

    This seems like a must try. I also read an article recently on how to make chips out of kale. Time for a healthier lifestyle…

  11. April 13, 2013 9:38 pm

    I love kale and most of the time I just saute it in olive oil with garlic and red pepper flakes. I will try the pesto recipe this summer. Thank you!

    • April 14, 2013 12:07 am

      Kale is quite flavorful on its own and doesn’t need a lot of pampering. Hope you enjoy the pesto.

  12. April 14, 2013 8:44 am

    After reading about this months ago and thinking it sounded good, I finally made it! I was given a bag of kale I didn’t really need and the extra virgin olive oil was half price at the co-op! What a great recipe this is and a fantastic use of kale. The toasted sunflower seeds work really well too – and at a fraction of the cost of pine nuts! I’ve managed to save some, but was ‘tasting’ (eating) it off the spoon!

    • April 15, 2013 12:31 am

      Thanks, I am so glad you enjoyed it. Eating off the spoon….yes, I can relate to that. Been there.


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