Cooking with Kale: Kale Pesto and Warm Kale Salad

Chuck the basil and lettuce, and try uber-healthy kale in your pesto and salad instead

Credit: Flickr / shutterbean

Kale is an extremely versatile and healthy form of cabbage

Experiment with the adaptable ingredient kale to make a flavourful pesto and warm spring salad

We’ve gone green! Kale green, to be exact. One recipe has kale rocking it out in a warm salad. In the other, our green pick takes centre stage substituting for basil in a roasted and toasted pesto.

Kale, Roasted Garlic, Sweet Pepper and Toasted Nut Medley Pesto

Image: Anastasia Koutalianos


  • 1 head of garlic, roasted or 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 3 small sweet peppers or 1 large red pepper, roasted with skins removed
  • 2 cups organic raw kale (about 4 stalks), with stems removed and coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ cup nuts, toasted
  • ¼ to ½ cup Golden Olive Eleni® certified organic extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Note: Use organic whenever possible, especially when it comes to the kale and olive oil. Conventional kale can be bitter, and good olive oil will add more body and flavour.


  1. Cut the top off the garlic clove. Drizzle with olive oil (about 1 tsp), and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Note: If you’re going to make the suggested pasta dish, roast two heads of garlic: one for the pesto and one for the pasta.
  2. Cut red pepper in half and remove stem and seeds. Place flat on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of salt on both sides. Bake at 375°F until brown on both sides. When cooled, remove skins and discard. Note: Kale has a bitter bite to it. Add more roasted peppers if you’d like to sweeten up the pesto.
  3. Choose your nuts. I used 1 part walnuts, 1 part sunflower seeds and 1 part pine nuts. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 5-10 minutes, or until nuts start to brown and smell toasted. You could also use any nut you wish. Keep in mind, the oilier the nut, the more flavour!
  4. In a food processor or blender, add all the ingredients, including the roasted garlic cloves. Purée until a smooth consistency is reached. Salt and pepper to taste. Use as desired.

Makes about 2 cups

Serving suggestion: Toss with pasta (gnocchi or angel hair), along with a handful of toasted (and chopped up) nuts, a head of roasted garlic and grated Parmesan.

Warm Kale Spring Salad  

Image: Anastasia Koutalianos


  • 1 stalk rhubarb, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Golden Olive Eleni® certified organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh kale, stems removed
  • 4 organic eggs, hard boiled and cut in quarters
  • 1 Gala apple, finely chopped (peeled if desired)
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 2 medium yams, cut in rounds and pan-fried in olive oil
  • ½ cup goat feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a saucepan, sauté the rhubarb and garlic in olive oil until tender. Remove from pan.
  2. In the same saucepan, add the kale and a tbsp or two of water. Cook until tender but still firm.
  3. Combine the kale with the rhubarb and garlic. Toss well.
  4. In a bowl, add half the mixture. Cover with half the cooked yam rounds, apple and pecans, and top with crumbled feta cheese.
  5. Add the egg, fresh dill, and drizzle with wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste

Makes 2 large servings.

Next, try making crispy all-dressed kale chips.

Helen Koutalianos is the President and owner of Basil Olive Oil Products. Along with her husband Basil, she imports quality food products from Greece, including their award-winning Golden Olive Eleni® certified organic extra virgin olive oil. She is a director for the Fraser Valley Organic Producers Association, and co-author of the cookbook From the Olive Grove: Mediterranean Cooking with Olive Oil. Helen is also a former Greek cooking instructor and food columnist for the Maple Ridge Times.

Anastasia is the director and founder of NADATODO.COM: an online event calendar and promotions/publicity hub. She also reviews theatre and live performance; her write-ups are featured on various blogs and websites, including and Anastasia hosts her own A&E review/music/talk radio show, @nadatodo, every other Sunday from 5-6PM on CJSF 90.1FM. Along with her mother, she co-wrote the cookbook From the Olive Grove: Mediterranean Cooking with Olive Oil. blog | twitter