As we near the end of Earth Month, we challenged our chef-in-residence, Bobby Flay to help us fight food waste and make something delicious from those random bits and pieces of produce you might have lingering in the fridge. He came up with a genius use for kale’s hardy stem, which tends to go straight into the compost bin or trash in most households. Not anymore! Bobby’s go-to method for using kale stems? An herbaceous pesto that you’ll want to slather over everything. And here’s the best part: the recipe is entirely customizable. No kale? Use Swiss chard. No pistachios? Use pine nuts or almonds instead. Skip the parsley if you don’t have any. Adding garlic is highly encouraged, too. Just think of this recipe as a roadmap with endless options.Print
- 1 cup kale stems, chopped
- 3 kale leaves
- 8 basil leaves
- 1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1/3 cup unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Blanch kale stems and leaves in boiling, lightly salted water to soften slightly and bring out their chlorophyll, about 1 minute. Remove kale from boiling water and immediately immerse in ice water. (This will shock the leaves to stop the cooking process and help retain their vivid green color.) Remove the kale from the water and squeeze it dry.
- Add kale stems and leaves, basil, cheese, pistachios, and parsley to a food processor and pulse until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- With the food processor still running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth and incorporated.
- Fold in lemon zest and immediately serve over cooked pasta. Or, pesto can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container with a tight-fitting lid for up to a week.