Sunday, September 19, 2010

Colorful Dinner + Kale Pesto

I just love how colorful my dinner plate was tonight:
Yellow = spaghetti squash

Brown = crumbled pork sausage

Red = spaghetti sauce

Green = Kale Pesto (instructions below)

White = goat cheese

Put all those delicious components together and it was a PARTY IN MY MOUTH! So delicious!

After I impulse-purchased the adorable mini-spaghetti squash today I knew I wanted to use it for dinner tonight. Preparing spaghetti squash is pretty easy, but the hardest part is DEFINITELY cutting the squash in half.

If you wanna be like me, make your husband do it for you since you know you're incredibly clumsy and likely to cut off a finger (or two).
Yay, husband!! Success!

Scoop out the seeds and then spray a baking pan with cooking spray and place the squash flesh-side down.
Stick 'em in a 375 degree oven and let bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife slides through the squash easily.

Once done cooking, take 'em out and let them cool for about 15 minutes.
When they're cool enough to handle, use a fork to scrape the flesh from the skin. You'll end up with a pile of steaming spaghetti squash strands like this:
Then top with your choice of toppings. You can't go wrong with spaghetti sauce, but I also like just butter and parmesan.
I'm REALLY excited that I have a ton of leftover squash for my lunches this week. :)

P.S. In case you wondering, the hubs did not eat the squash. He cooked noodles for himself. He did, however, try a bit of mine and admitted that it was "pretty good". Baby steps!


I mentioned above that one of the toppings was Kale Pesto. I know it sounds odd, but it's really good!

I saw the idea for "Kale Butter" or "Kale Pesto" on Heather Eats Almond Butter and knew I wanted to try it. I figured it would be a great way to add some nutrients and flavor to a lot of dishes. Plus, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying the mounds and mounds of fresh basil that it requires to make basil pesto!

First I started off by tearing the kale leaves off the stems and placing it in a large stockpot with a steamer insert. The bottom of the pot had about an inch of water in it and I turned the heat to about medium.
Cover, let the water come to a simmer/boil and set the timer for 5 minutes.

Once the 5 minutes were up the kale had wilted a lot and turned bright green. Then I stuffed as much of the steamed kale as I could into my food processor.
If it doesn't all fit, just put in what you can fit and then let it whirl. Then add the rest.

Finally I added about 1 cup of pecans (you could use your nut of choice such as walnuts or macadamia nuts), about 1 cup of the leftover steaming water, the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (this ingredient probably isn't necessary...I just felt like adding it since I had a new jar of it) 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of dried basil and a lot of salt (probably at least a tablespoon).

Let it all process for a long time until it looks smooth and buttery.
This made a TON!! That's a spaghetti sauce jar full of it! Good thing it's delicious!
I would say it tastes like a milder form of pesto, but it's definitely less oily and more buttery than your average pesto.
I can't wait to see what kinds of serving suggestions I can come up with for it. It was an awesome addition to our "spaghetti" tonight so we're off to a good start. It would also probably be great mixed right in to spaghetti sauce, or as a spread on sandwiches or pizza, or on potatoes. So many possibilities!

How would YOU eat Kale Pesto?

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