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!
Vegan Kale Basil Pesto
- 150 grams Fusilli pasta around 2 cups of pasta
- 16 almonds toasted
- 12-15 tender kale leaves
- 10-12 tender spinach leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 handfuls Italian basil
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup green peas cooked (optional)
- Bring a small pot of water to boil. Keep a bowl with iced water handy. Blanche the kale and spinach leaves until wilted and then shock the leaves in cold water. Squeeze excess water and add to the mixer jar with the toasted almonds, garlic, basil leaves and salt.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tbsp salt. Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook as per packet instructions. The smaller variety of fusilli takes around 6-7 minutes of boiling to reach al dente stage.
- In a pan, add the prepared kale basil pesto, extra virgin olive oil, cooked peas and the drained cooked pasta. Toss well to combine and garnish with some more fresh basil.