Kale-Walnut Pesto

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The very first time I ever planted herbs, I planted a basil plant in a pretty little pot, sat it outside my apartment, watered it, loved it, doted on it…

…until the time came to make pesto. And I cut him down at. the. knees. As in, literally. Nearly all the way down to his fragile little roots.

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I imagined that my personified-basil would grow right on back, stronger than ever. Soon-to-be-ready for another batch of pesto.

It. never. happened.

Inexperience? Naivete?

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I was sad. I blamed the faulty plant. I have never fully recovered. I have avoided basil-based pesto recipes ever since.

Besides, basil and parmesan and pine nuts add up to being very close to the cost of my accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payment.

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And, therefore, I have found an absurdly-delicious, non-basil, alternative. And it’s uber-healthy. And it’s vegan. Bonus. Bonus.

Use this delightful pesto as you would his ritzy, herby, cousin. This guy ain’t no one-trick pony. You will be truly astounded by both his depth and his beauty.

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Kale-Walnut Pesto

1 bunch kale, blanched (reserve the blanching water)
1 cup walnuts, toasted
2 large cloves garlic
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 lemon, juiced
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
a pinch cayenne, optional

1. Add the kale, walnuts, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Process to chop and to combine the ingredients together. Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice. Process again.
2. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil. If needed, drizzle in some of the blanching water, until the desired consistency is achieved.
3. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne, if using.

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