Cooking with PINs ~ Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

I LOVE Pinterest!

Kale and Almond Pesto Pasta

I could literally pin things for hours and never tire of the process of exploring different website and randomly pinning things that I believe that I might actually make one day.  The problem is that I currently have over 1000 recipe pins on my favorite page, For the Love of Food.  Every pin that I placed on that page prompted me to say to myself, ‘I am going to make that one day’ or ‘next time I have people over, I will make this’

Pinterest FLOF

For every pin there is always the belief that one day, soon, I will make those Pecan Pie Cupcakes or Chicken Sausage & Shrimp “Dirty Rice” or Fried egg sandwich with bacon and blue cheese!  Although I have made a couple of the recipes that I’ve pinned, I have not made nearly as many as I would like.  I mean look at these pins!  I need to get to cooking!

PIN collage

When faced with the question of what I want to eat, in that moment I don’t often refer to my Pinterest page for inspiration.  To help with this, I have decided to start a series called Cooking with Pins.  Yes, I thought that was a cute name too!  In this series I will use recipe from my ever growing Pinterest page to make meals and share what I come up with on my blog.  It could be several Pins that I put together to make a meal based on what I have in the fridge, or a recipe I use as inspiration to adapt or even one of the many wonderful dessert recipe that I have been collecting.  But whatever it is, it will be from one of the many Pins on my For the Love of Food page… because Lord knows I have some really good stuff on that page!

So, to start… I have been wanting to make a really good pesto that I can use in several different ways, on pasta, chicken, added to bread for a really good grilled cheese!  There are so many ways to use a good pesto! So, these are my inspiration pins…

Pesto PIN 2 collage

  1. Kale and Almond Pesto with a Little Heat by Proud Italian Cook
  2. Sun Dried Tomato Pesto by Oh Sweet Basil
  3. Herb Pesto by Alexandra Cooks

Based on my inspiration recipes, I decided to use kale as the green, mainly because I love kale!  I had a couple sun dried tomatoes lingering around that I needed to use, I always love the addition of lemon zest and juice and of course garlic!  In addition to this cast of characters, I also used grated Parmesan cheese, toasted almond slivers and olive oil and of course salt and pepper.

Kale Pesto Ingredients


For my first taste of this pesto, I made some spaghetti rigati, I wanted to get a good feel for the flavor of the pesto and figured pasta would be a good way to go…

… and MY OH MY did this turn out good!

When I mentioned to my mom that I was using kale in my pesto, she asked about the bitterness that is often found in this green.  I was a bit worried about that as well, but what I think helped this is the pre-steaming of the kale.  That was a great recommendation from the Proud Italian Cook blog.  The sun dried tomatoes really added a nice flavor and the lemon zest and juice was nice as well.  I also love how easy it is to make pesto!  Throw it into the food processor, blend and you are done!  Easy!

There will definitely be many more Cooking with PINs post coming soon!  What I think will be really nice about this series is that it will give me opportunity/reason to do a good review of my Pins.  I try to do this from time to time but never with the intention of making something.  PLUS, this process is made so much easier now that we can finally search our own pins on Pinterest… Thank you Pinterest People!!

Kale and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
Makes a generous cup

3 cups kale
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (I used ones that were not in oil,but I think that oil based ones would work as well)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1 lemon zested and juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Prepare an ice bath for kale, but putting ice in a bowl filled with water, set aside.
  • Toast almonds in oven at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes, watch carefully so that you don’t over cook your almonds.
  • In a large pan with a steaming basket, bring about 1 cup of water to a boil. Add kale to steam basket and cover pot to allow kale to steam, but not cook. Once kale is bright green, immediately remove the kale and place it in the ice bath to stop the cooking. Remove kale from ice bath and squeeze kale until all water is removed. That picture up there is of the ‘kale ball’ that resulted once all the water is squeezed out!
  • In bowl of food processor, add kale, sun dried tomatoes, garlic Parmesan cheese, almonds, lemon zest and juice and combine until well chopped.
  • With food processor on, slowly drizzle in olive oil through tube until desired consistency is reached.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.


If you are wondering, here are the links to the pins I referenced above…

  1. Pecan Pie Cupcakes
  2. Chicken Sausage & Shrimp “Dirty Rice” and
  3. Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon and Blue Cheese.

If you make these before I do, please let me know how they turn out… they look SO good!!  🙂  Pictures are always welcome!



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