Homemade Kale Pesto

Pesto | The Casual Classic

I am ALWAYS snapchatting about this or putting it on my Insta-stories, but I have yet to post the recipe, and I feel like I've been cheating you guys. It's such a simple recipe, and it's a delicious addition to pretty much any meal. My favorite way to eat it is mixed with quinoa and a little bit of parmesan cheese. Top it with an egg to make a "quinoa bowl", and you're set to go. I'm not sure why that's the best route, but it's just SO DARN delicious prepared that way. Pesto is also great mixed in with pasta, on top of toast or in sandwiches, and scrambled in eggs. Another one of my favorite ways to eat it is in a sandwich with egg, bacon, and avocado. Talk about a yummy breakfast. 

This recipe can be vegan if you'd like, as I usually make it without the cheese and use nutritional yeast instead. You can use either - it pretty much tastes the same. Also, the recipe below, like usual, is just my guesstimations - I'm one to just throw things in a food processor and continually taste and add to it until it tastes good. You may need a bit more olive oil, or may need extra cheese/nutritional yeast, depending on how strong you like your pesto to be. Don't be afraid to play around with this a bit - it's pretty hard to screw up (unless you add too much salt, so be careful with that one). 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed (I have used 3 different types of kale and they all work!)
  • 1 bunch basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4-1 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for vegan, or 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Throw all ingredients into a food processor and process until completely mixed/chopped up. Start with the smaller amount of olive oil, and continue to add it while the processor is running until the pesto is a smooth consistency, without being too runny. 
  2. Like I said above, you can add more of any of the ingredients, like cheese/nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, etc. depending on what you like and how you want your pesto to taste. Make it what you want!

A few of my favorite pesto recipes:

Protein Packed Pasta with Pesto Chicken

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta

I'm a big fan of comfort food, especially cheesy, chewy, delicious pasta. I used to live on Kraft mac and cheese as a kid (anyone with me!?), but after reading about the scary stuff they put in their pasta and "cheese sauce", I wouldn't touch that stuff with a 10 foot pole. At this point, I've pretty much cut mac and cheese out of my diet, although I do treat myself sometimes, just with a better version if possible. 

Enter Al Dente pasta (and no this is not a sponsored post, I am just utterly obsessed with this pasta, which you will find out why shortly). This WHOLE time I've been fooled into thinking that rice or quinoa pasta was the way to go if you wanted to make gluten free pasta. Well I was freaking dead wrong! Now, I've tried almost every type of gluten free pasta at this point, from rice, to quinoa, to black bean, to chickpea, to lentil based pastas. The favorite (until now), was Tolerant red lentil pasta. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is also good, but Al Dente just tops everything I've tried, and here's why.

You know how the gluten free pastas usually are a little hard? Or gritty? Or weird flavored? Or slimy and too mushy (if you over cook them even for a second)? The texture of Al Dente is just AMAZING. It's a little bit chewy and not at all grainy, and the flavor is just so good. They also offer a few different flavors, including spinach, garlic parsley, and pure & simple. The pasta takes about 5 minutes max to cook and holds its shape, even for leftovers. No mushiness or random hard pieces here! It is made from white bean and rice flour (surprisingly), which gives it a great amount of protein and fiber. I'll admit, it's not as "pure" as the Tolerant brand, or the Trader Joes black bean pasta that only has one ingredient, but if you want to treat yourself to some yummy comfort food that you won't feel guilty about, I'd recommend this brand.

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta

I decided to go with the spinach noodles this time around, but I did just order the 3-pack off Amazon to try other flavors next time. I topped mine with some homemade pesto (recipe coming soon!), grilled chicken, and a tiny bit of organic mozzarella cheese. DELICIOUS!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Al Dente pasta
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2-3/4 cup pesto (you can buy, or I made mine homemade - recipe coming soon!)
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the bag.
  2. Grease a pan with some type of animal fat (I use Epic), butter or olive oil. I prefer the fat because it makes the chicken more tasty and crispier.
  3. Rinse off the chicken breasts and pound them a bit with a tenderizer to make them more tender. Season with spices, salt and pepper, and place in a pan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until center is cooked through.
  4. Once the pasta is finished, drain and rinse with cold water. Add the pesto and mozzarella cheese and mix thoroughly. Dice up the cooked chicken breast and add to the pasta. 
  5. Enjoy!

I'd also recommend ordering your pasta off Thrive, although they don't carry my Al Dente brand. Everything on their site is 30-40% off, so you if you're feeling experimental, you can grab the Tolerant pasta, black bean pasta, chickpea pasta and more at a major discount! And if you sign up today, you receive 25% off your first order and free shipping. It's SO worth it, trust me. xo

I'd also recommend ordering your pasta off Thrive, although they don't carry my Al Dente brand. Everything on their site is 30-40% off, so you if you're feeling experimental, you can grab the Tolerant pasta, black bean pasta, chickpea pasta and more at a major discount! If you sign up today, you'll receive 25% off and free shipping! Sign up here.

Adult Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Arugula Pesto Grilled Cheese

Because you're never too old (or too healthy) to enjoy a grilled cheese, right!? Sometimes you just need some good, hearty comfort food. These used to be my favorite food when I was a kid - I lived on them. I know, not exactly healthy, but who's all that healthy as a kid anyway?

Anyway, this is the grown up version of the grilled cheese. I like to try and add greens to every meal especially if it's a not-so-healthy type meal, like a grilled cheese. This one is filled with grass-fed mozzarella, homemade pesto, arugula, and gluten free bed. Sounds pretty darn good right? Read on below for the recipe (it's a extremely simple one if you couldn't guess).

Arugula Pesto Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices gluten-free bread (I like this kind)
  • 2 tbsp homemade pesto
  • 2-3 slices mozzarella cheese (or any type of cheese you'd like)
  • handful of arugula
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • ghee

Direction:

  1. Heat a small pan over medium heat.
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread with the ghee (the sides that will touch the pan), and spread the pesto over the two opposite sides of the bread.
  3. Add the slices of cheese and handful of arugula to the sandwich and put the two pieces of bread together.
  4. Place in pan and cook each side until lightly brown/crispy.
  5. Enjoy that ooey, gooey, goodness. YUM!