Waste not, want not

“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry.” -Pope Francis

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Starvation worldwide is a HUGE problem. And I am a firm believer that solving problems starts at home. That being said, I HATE wasting food. I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with kale. And I LOVE pesto. (I promise this is going somewhere!)

Deliciously Ella's Marinated Kale Salad... trust me, it's SO good! 

Deliciously Ella's Marinated Kale Salad... trust me, it's SO good! 

If you also have a love/hate relationship with kale - or straight up don’t like it - here's what you need to know: KALE IS HIGH MAINTENANCE. Like me, kale needs a good massage. Without a massage, kale is too fibrous and bitter, but a quick 3-5 minute rub down with olive oil or lemon juice breaks down the cellulose and you'll have kale that you'll want to eat again and again. My current go-to for a quick lunch or salad with dinner is Deliciously Ella's Marinated Kale Salad.

Throw these guys out?!? But WHY??

Throw these guys out?!? But WHY??

The bigger issue with kale is that nearly every recipe says to discard the stems. That's a lot of roughage to throw out, and I figured it had to be good for something. Cue kale stem pesto. Not only does it give those neglected stems a great use, it’s delicious and MindBodyGreen has lauded the importance of immune-boosting garlic and herbs during flu season - so fire up your food processor!

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup chopped kale stems (or however much you have leftover from your recipe)
  • About ½ cup packed fresh herbs with stems (parsley and basil are my go to - feel free to play with the proportions… also how great is it to be able to toss them in stems-and-all?!)
  • ½ cup nuts (I prefer pine nuts; used half pine nuts and half toasted walnuts in this batch)
  • 3 (or more) garlic cloves... depending on your taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ to ½ cup olive oil

*Traditional pesto is often made with a firm cheese, notably absent in this vegan-friendly alternative. The lemon zest gives the tangy flavor that hard cheeses usually contribute to the mix, but a little bit of nutritional yeast can satisfy your cheese craving if you want to keep it vegan.

How easy it is:

Add it all into the food processor (sans olive oil)

Add it all into the food processor (sans olive oil)

Add everything except the olive oil to your food processor. Pulse until crumbly. You may need to use a spatula to scoop into the center of the food processor from time to time.

Continue pulsing while slowly and steadily pouring the olive oil in until you reach desired consistency.

I like to enjoy mine with mini peppers as a light snack when I need something to hold me over through my workout but won’t sit heavily in my stomach, but it’s also an excellent stand-in for chips and salsa for your next Netflix binge!

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Remember - the recipes I share are meant to be flexible - get creative with what types of nuts you use, the measurements, proportions of herbs and stems, etc! Give chard or collard green stems a try! Make it your own and let me know how it turns out in the comments section!