I take a lot of joking around about the fact that I'm a big fan of kale. And it's true the ribbing is totally warranted, I really am a big fan. But the whole truth is, I love not only kale, but all kinds of green stuff, with kale being at the top of that list for sure. Looking at the top of that list, I'd have to say it's rather crowded up there though - I mean, how can you say definitively that kale is better than broccoli, or parsley, or basil, or celery leaves, or sprouts, or any of those gorgeous green leaves that pop up in wooden boxes throughout this fair land at this time of year? It's all I can do to not run through people's backyards & community garden plots munching on leaves... :)
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse especially, and it's won many a zealous fan for its versatility and ability to grow just about anywhere and, even in colder climates, all through the winter. It's a truly amazing plant. So you can imagine my amusement when I travelled to France last summer to find kale everywhere.......just not on people's plates.
I was beyond intrigued to see kale of all kinds pop up in French gardens - from the meticulously manicured ornamental gardens in Paris to the enchanting hills of hard-to-believe-they-are-real Burgundy (I don't recall seeing it in the south of France so much). The French being who they are, knowing a thing of beauty when they see one, obviously hold this plant in high esteem. But seemingly, it is very rare to see it eaten there these days. So I was pleased (beyond pleased really) to learn of a lone woman who is trying to change all of this.
Kristin at the Kale Project is working to bring kale back to the plates of all who dine in France, from the hoards of eager tourists looking for a fancy bite, to the locals, who may or may not already know the nutritional qualities and easy growing nature of this gift of the plant world. It is these kinds of personal pursuits that make me smile wide, and I love discovering those who pursue their purpose such as this - I've been following Kristin with pleasure, and I hope you might too, one serving at a time in a land far far away (for many).
Here is a most simple way to enjoy one of the (hands down) most popular and tasty kale recipes on my blog - this kale pesto is a yummy way to use not only kale but a few of those other delicious green herby things I mentioned earlier. I toss it all together with a little finely cubed raw tofu to keep it simple & not too heavy, but you can do whatever treatment you like here for the protein. I happen to really enjoy raw tofu, which isn't actually raw anyway since it a pre-cooked & processed bean curd, and I find it a lovely little add-on to a lively & well-rounded dinner dish. And coated in this yummy pesto? Just perfect.
Kale Pesto Pasta Bowl
- (1) handful of pasta of your choice per serving (I used a thin wheat fettuccine here
- (1/4) cup finely cubed un-cooked extra firm tofu per serving
- Killer Kale Pesto as desired to taste
- Fresh parsley or basil leaves to garnish
- Additional parmesan (optional)
This is such a classic that I am sure many of you have a version of this in your repertoire already.The first thing to do is make the pesto. This can be done on a leisurely weekend while prepping for the week. This recipe will keep for well up to 10 days in the fridge and also freezes very well. It's fantastic, and a little goes a long way.
To make dinner in minutes, put up a pot of water to boil and add the pasta once the water boils. Cook according to package directions. While the pasta cooks, prep the tofu (or your choice of pre-cooked protein) and chop up some herbs super fine. If using, grate up a smidge of parmesan cheese.
When the pasta is done, drain and let sit for a minute in the strainer. To serve, toss the drained pasta back into the (dried out) cooking pot and add the pesto a spoonful at a time, stirring to incorporate. When you have reached the desired amount of pesto, toss in the tofu cubes and stir gently to coat it all with the sauce. Transfer the hot pasta to a serving bowl (or bowls) and garnish with herbs, pepper, parmesan, and, if you are (just a little) down with it, an additional splash of olive oil.