Vegan Kale Basil Pesto made using tender dinosaur kale leaves and garlic, fresh spinach and basil lending an extra bright green colour, all put together paint a pretty picture of a spring time special pasta dish.
While Kale is a hearty green, more suited to braising, pressure cooking and hearty stews and curries, the more delicate younger leaves are well suited for a pesto. Since kale leaves are generally more fibrous than other greens, a quick blanch renders it good for a pesto. Shocking the leaves in cold water ensures that the vibrant green colour is maintained.
While basil pesto is everyone’s favourite pesto, I love rocket / arugula pesto when my kitchen garden is teeming with arugula. I also love a coriander-mint pesto that is more along the lines of an Indian chutney. Pesto is a kind of Italian chutney, after all! Don’t shy away from combining whatever green leaves you find in season to prepare pesto.
If you don’t have access to kale, feel free to substitute it with more fresh spinach for a spinach and basil pesto. While I have kept this pasta dish simple with the sole addition of boiled green peas, you can add any of the spring time favourites such as snow peas, sugar snap peas, asparagus, green beans, broccoli and make it a sort of Pasta Primavera – a spring time pasta dish full of all shade of green.
I prepared one such pasta last week and I shall be sharing it on the blog soon. The flavours of the fresh seasonal vegetables made it a totally enjoyable pasta dish, and it needed sauce at all.
Prepare this quick kale basil pesto ahead of time and toss with pasta for a meal in under 8-10 minutes. Make a bigger batch if you are into weekly meal prep. It can be used for a couple of pasta meals, and also to prepare Bruschetta. Smear some kale basil pesto on toasted slices of a baguette rubbed with a garlic clove and top with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for a quick and delicious summer meal starter.
I managed a couple of lunch boxes for the kid with one small batch of this vegan kale basil pesto and he loved his green pasta!