Kale Pesto. Say Whaaaaaat?!

Yes, you read that right.  Kale pesto!!!  I LOVE PESTO!  And the fact that when you eat this one….you are unknowingly devouring a SUPER FOOD!  So tasty, and so beyond healthy!  Yeah baby!!  And the color is phenomenal, haha.  Green is my favorite 🙂  You can do so many things with pesto.  Chicken.  Veggie sides.  Pasta.  Pizza.  Why not whip up a batch of this fantastic pesto, and have it ready to substitute into your favorite recipes?  Here’s my thought…if you are a pesto lover, make this one change, have an even better flavor and unbelievable health benefits!  Eliminate the store bought pesto you get from a jar, and you eliminate the mystery…do you know what mystery I am speaking of?  The “what sort of strange chemical poo did they cram into this” mystery?  I have come to the terms that even if the ingredients on a bottle all seem legit…and if it has that “all natural” label on the front…you can’t trust it!  That one thing that I haven’t heard of…that big word I can’t pronounce….it’s probably where they snuck in the bad stuff that will hurt the body!  Oh and don’t even get me started on the whole “natural flavors” thing.  Ha!  Anywho.  This recipe eliminates that mystery!!!  You can KNOW what you are putting in your body, and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your body is not being harmed!  And on the other hand, if you already make home made pesto, I altered this recipe to the point that it is crazy delicious without any cheese!  Not that I think a little Parmesan here and there is a bad thing.  But if you can have something that is so yummy without NEEDING cheese, you might as well eliminate it so that you can have some cheese where it IS needed, right?  Makes sense to me 😉

Enough talk!!!  Let’s hop to it!!  I’m excited for you to try this gem…and I’m excited that in a few days, I get to show you how I used it!  FANTASTIC!

Adapted from marycrimmins.com

So here’s what you need:

  • 2 Small Bunches of Kale, Stems Removed
  • 1/2 C Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 C Walnuts, Chopped
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (ish, to taste and texture 😉 )
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, or something similar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (Careful with the salt if your Cajun style seasoning has salt in it!)

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Place your walnuts on a cookie sheet and toast, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn 🙂  You just want them to get a little browned and bring out that fantastic toasty flavor!!  Yummmm!  Set aside 🙂
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
  3. Add kale leaves to boiling water and let cook for about 10 minutes.  Should be nice and tender.
  4. Put your toasted walnuts, cooked kale, and garlic in a food processor.  Or blender, but food processor works better 🙂  Get it nice and blended!
  5. Pour in oil and lemon juice slowly, until you get the consistency you want.  Mine was creamy and spreadable, which was perfect for my use 🙂
  6. Whiz in the Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper…taste and adjust!

WABAM!  AMAZING!  That’s all I can say!  Amazing!!!  I hope you enjoy this…it was a huge discovery for my kitchen 🙂

Oh my gosh.  I just had a thought.  Kale pesto.  Plus spaghetti squash.  Holy inspiration.  Ahhhhh.  That must happen.  Really soon.  Wow.  Maybe I should blog while watching Iron Chef more often.  For real.

Holy boiling kale batman!

Kale Pesto 1

So green!  Yay green!  Tastiest darn green I’ve ever had!!!

Kale Pesto 2

Yum!  I have more pictures for you…but I’m not giving them to you yet…cause I want you to see them all together when I reveal the finished product.  The life-changing, wonderful, beautiful finished product.  Haha.

Advertisements

Gluten Free Kielbasa and Cheese Pasta!

Gluten Free Kielbasa Pagodas

Comfort food!! My favorite! This is a quick and easy dish that I often make at work, it gives me my protein and the satisfaction of a cheesy pasta…without the gluten that, unfortunately, I have discovered my insides are not fond of.  Sad day…  Oh wait…over it!! Cause you know what?! I declare that gluten-free does not have to mean delicious-free!

If you or someone you know is attempting a gluten-free lifestyle…and if you love macaroni and cheese and all that yummy comforting childhood food but want to avoid the wheat and that mysterious orange death powder…give this one a try, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised 🙂

What you’ll need:

  • 6-8 ounces of your favorite uncooked gluten-free pasta.  (Pictured is corn/quinoa blend pagodas. I’ve also made this recipe with gf macaroni…that was my favorite.  Be creative, you could certainly use spaghetti or even spaghetti squash!)
  • 1 lb fully cooked turkey kielbasa (or smoked sausage of choice), cut into slices.  Double check your package to make sure its gluten-free! According to Google it looks like Hillshire Farms is a safe brand.
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (I am a “more is better” girl when it comes to garlic.  Can I get a witness?!)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 1 C fresh or frozen peas, or half a bag of frozen broccoli
  • 1 C (4 oz, or more to taste) cheddar or jack cheese, shredded
  • A few good cracks of fresh black pepper

The process:

  1. Read the package on your pasta, and get it cooking.  I would follow the instructions closely on this one…gluten free pasta can be finicky and you don’t want to end up with mush 🙂 Note: if your pasta gets done before your sauce…make sure to toss it with some olive oil so you don’t end up with a pasta brick 🙂
  2. While you wait for your pasta, melt your butter in a large pan over medium high heat. Toss in your kielbasa slices and garlic cloves. Cook until your kielbasa is starting to brown, but be careful! You don’t want your garlic to burn!!
  3. Combine cornstarch and milk until smooth.  Gradually add it to the skillet and bring to a boil.  Add peas or broccoli.  Cook and stir until it reaches desired thickness…probably 2-5 minutes.
  4. Add in pasta and cheese, and stir until it is all combined, melty, cheesy, thickened goodness!!
  5. Eat.  Be pain-free.  Enjoy!

Verdict: This meal makes me happy because I love pasta, cheese, AND kielbasa.  I thought I was giving up pasta when I decided I should give up gluten.  NOT SO!  I have made this twice with minor differences between the two…and definitely recommend the use of gluten-free macaroni, and cheddar cheese! If I do pagodas again I will cook less so the sauce covers the noodles better…which is why I changed it to “6-8 oz uncooked pasta” from the original “8 oz pasta.” Feel free to try adding your favorite herbs and spices and let me know how it goes!!

Here’s some more pictures of the process!! I put the recipe first cause I always scroll through to the recipe at the end when I am using recipes from other blogs, and I get annoyed having to pass all the pictures! But for you visual learners, here ya go!!

Cook your gluten-free pasta according to package instructions, drain when ready and toss with olive oil if sauce is not done.

While waiting for your pasta to finish cooking, brown your kielbasa and garlic in the butter!

Combine your milk and cornstarch and gradually stir into the pan.  Bring to a boil and add veggie of choice.  Stir, letting thicken for 2-5 minutes.

Add in pasta and cheese and stir until well combined and melty!!! Serve hot and enjoy peace of taste buds and peace of digestive system!