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How many kale recipes have you come across in which the directions tell you to reserve the stems for “another use” or even discard them altogether? Well, friends, this is your other use. Those rigid stems and ribs we often remove are the star of the show here, and they’re every bit as fresh and earthy as their leafy counterparts. Used raw, they’re a great pairing for the tangy lemon in this pesto. You’re not solely limited to kale stems, either; try this with your other neglected stems, such as collards, cauliflower, or broccoli.

Kale Stem Pesto [Vegan]

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Ingredients You Need for Kale Stem Pesto [Vegan]

  • 1 cup (100 g) chopped kale stems
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) packed fresh parsley with stems
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) toasted walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup (60 to 120 ml) olive oil

How to Prepare Kale Stem Pesto [Vegan]

  1. Add all the ingredients except the oil to a food processor and pulse until crumbly, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  2. Continue pulsing and add the oil in a slow, steady stream until well blended. Some people like their pesto super smooth, but if you prefer a bit of texture, so process to your liking.
  3. For a thick paste that you can spread onto sandwiches and pizzas, use only 1/4 cup (60 ml) of oil. For a thin sauce that you can stir into pastas and soups, use a full 1/2 cup (120 ml).
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