Recipe Of The Week: Fresh Kale Pesto

While it's most common to sauté kale, here's a unique way to use this leafy green.

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With fall around the corner, kale will be popping up everywhere. While it’s most common to sauté kale, here’s a unique way to use this leafy green. Kale makes a great addition to this lighter version of pesto and roasted kale chips make a satisfying snack to have on hand.

Fresh Kale Pesto

1-16 oz bag pasta
4-5 cups fresh kale, chopped
½ cup basil leaves, packed
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
¾ cup pasta water
1/3 cup olive oil
¾ tsp salt
3 cups unsalted/un-oiled steamed, grilled, or roasted veggies*

*grilled zucchini, yellow squash and carrots were used for this occasion- use whatever veggies are in season or that you have on hand in the fridge.

1. Cook pasta according to the cooking instructions, making sure to keep al dente. Ladle out ¾ cups of the pasta water, for the pesto sauce, approximately 6-8 minutes into cooking the pasta. Time the pasta cooking so it can be mixed directly into the finished sauce.

2. In a food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients, except the 3 cups of veggies. Process until smooth. Remove the pesto into a large bowl.

3. Immediately after draining the pasta, add it to the bowl with the pesto. Toss with tongs until the pasta is coated.  Gently toss in the veggies.

Roasted Kale

4 cups fresh kale, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp agave
1 tsp salt

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare two large, rimmed baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Divide the kale between the two baking sheets. Toss the kale on each sheet with half of the olive oil, agave and salt.

3. Roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes, until the kale starts to crisp. Keep and close watch because it can burn quickly if over cooked.

More recipes from Jessica Cerra.

Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif.  She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker.  Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.

RELATED: Meet Private Chef And Xterra Pro Jessica Cerra 

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