When Brian and I went to Italy, one of our favorite memories was the Italian cooking class we were able to take.
We made LOTS of delicious pesto, and thankfully Daniella (our wonderful instructor) gave us the recipe to take home with us.
One thing Daniella (our FABULOUS instructor) mentioned when we were learning how to make delicious Italian pesto is that the recipe for pesto is simply a formula, and we could substitute any greens in place for the basil and any nut in place of the pine nuts. The moment she told me this, the wheels in my head started turning…
Now, I know that cooking class took place SEVERAL months ago, but this past weekend I FINALLY got to experiment with Daniella’s beloved pesto recipe. I wanted to make a pesto that was delicious, AND nutrient packed. When it comes to nutrient packed foods, I instantly think of GREENS and when I think of nutrient packed greens my mind immediately goes to KALE.
Kale is high in Calcium, Vitamin K, Vitamin C and a whole other slew of good-for-you vitamins and minerals, so I knew that kale would be the perfect swap for the basil in this pesto recipe.
Now, I absolutely adore parmesan cheese (especially from Italy) but after recently completing the Whole 30 challenge, I am increasingly interested in creating recipes that are super CLEAN and super tasty so I decided to omit the parmesan. Now, I promise you that you will not miss the parmesan in this tasty recipe…it’s Brian approved 😉
Oh! And…I made a sun dried tomato version of the recipe too!
**For the sun dried tomato pesto I simply took a small jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil and added the tomatoes (minus the oil) to half of the original kale pesto. You may need to add a little more oil to get things going in the food processor, but all you need to do is pulse until the pesto has reached the desired consistency.
Brian and I absolutely LOVED putting this pesto on top of a salmon fillet. Literally, that is all you do! Spread the salmon on the pesto and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes (or until the salmon is flaky).
You can also use the pesto as a veggie dip, cracker spread, or whatever else you can imagine. Get creative!