Kale and Smoked Garlic Pesto

I have grown kale for the first time this year and it’s a roaring success. From the minute I planted the seeds in my greenhouse this super-food kale 15 weeks 6x9took off (literally). Seedlings emerged after three days and four weeks later I planted them into a raised bed. Just two weeks later  I started to pick baby kale for smoothies and now we just can’t eat it fast enough; its amazing how fast it grows. In addition to smoothies we chop and wilt into stir- fries, chili, frittatas and pasta dishes;  we have embraced our kale wholeheartedly and its now  part of the family. I wanted to make pesto for dinner the other night and we had run out of basil, so kale came to the rescue. It’s a punchy version of this classic sauce with the lovely undertones of Isle of Wight smoked garlic (my current other food crush). Kale’s uses are many and it’s got that added good for you vibe plus this pesto is dead easy to make, providing you have a food processor.

1- 2  large cloves smoked garlic

75g cashew nuts (almonds, pine nuts or walnuts would also work here)

50g kale or baby kale, rinsed and roughly chopped

75g Pecorino Romano (or any Italian style hard cheese) cheese, grated

100ml extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground pepper and sea salt (smoked is even better- I use Maldon)

  1. Toast the cashews in a hot, dry frying pan till just golden and set aside to cool. Rinse and finely chop the kale.
  2. Blitz the cooled cashews and the kale in a food processor with the garlic, olive oil and cheese. Season and taste then and add more garlic if it needs it. Now take a look at it and add a little more oil if too thick to make sure you can to stir it into soup, mix it with pasta or spread on bread.

This versatile little number will last for 4-5 days if refrigerated but no longer; remember the kale is raw in this.

kale collage


kale at 6 weeks 9x6

I originally wrote this recipe for the Dorking Advertiser where it first appeared in August 2015

You can buy Isle of Wight smoked garlic at many independent retailers in Surrey. I get mine from Joe’s Farm Shop and Noels Farm Shop both near Guildford.