RECIPE: Kale Raab Pesto, Eating in Season


With the growing season well underway it’s always good to eat what’s in season. This year I had the opportunity to try kale raab. Kale seems to be the “it” green these days. I see more and more restaurant menus serving it up alongside wonderful slow and low cooked meats as well as in salads. What I grow in my own garden isn’t anything like that tough stuff you find in the grocery store. Freshly grown kale melts like butter and wilts just as softly as spinach. If you ever have the opportunity, purchase an organic bunch from the grocery store.

My kale plant grew for the last year and a half. It survived through the entire spring and summer and then right through winter. Then a funny thing happened this spring, it started to flower; before then I had no idea kale even flowered. The flowering sprouts look a lot like broccoli raab or broccolini, which forced me to find out more information. Turns out, kale is in the same family as broccoli, who knew? Kale raab has broccolini like buds and a mild tart flavor, and since broccoli raab is totally edible I decided to eat my kale raab. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them at first so I decided to make kale raab pesto!

Kale raab bouquet 2013

Kale Raab Pesto


2 cups kale raab

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup nuts (any nut will be fine with the exception of peanuts)

1/4 cup grated parmesan (you can also use pecorino, asiago, or manchego)

2 cloves garlic

Salt to taste


1. Blanch the kale raab by bringing 3-4 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot.  Place the kale raab in the boiling water then turn off the burner. Allow the kale raab to sit in the hot water for 3-4 minutes. Remove and submerge into cold water bath to cool down.

2. In the barrel of a food processor, place the two cloves of the garlic, the cooled kale raab, and the nuts. Then pulse on high until almost everything is smooth. Add olive oil and pulse again then add parmesan (the olive oil level can be adjusted to meet your needs depending on how moist you want your pesto).

3. After parmesan is fully incorporated taste; add salt to fit your taste level.

This recipe is fun and easy and kale raab pesto can be used just as you would regular basil pesto and tastes great on grilled chicken, whipped in mayonnaise and of course tossed on angel hair. There are so many other veggies you can use with pesto, try it out sometime.