So, I used to buy the pesto from Trader Joe's years ago and loved it but then I became lactose intolerant to the nth degree and swore off buying it, it also had tree nuts I think, which was a no no for one of my kids.
I can't tell you how many places I have searched for nut free, dairy free pesto only to be disappointed by the ingredients. I did find it at one particular Whole Foods store but then the price tag was enough for me to throw my hands up and say forget it. I mean it was almost $8 for a jar or something like that.
So, to say that I was excited about making my own pesto was an understatement and it's so riduculously simple to make too. I only used 5 main ingredients - kale, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic and oil. I made two batches, one with the nutritional yeast and one version without. The version with the nutritional yeast is by far the better version. It lends a creaminess to it that is very very needed in my opinion not to mention I’m getting a healthy dose of vitamin B-12. Let it also be known that there is no hint of bitterness that kale can sometimes offend people with in this pesto.
The toasted sunflower seeds were my replacement for the cashews that’s in almost every other version of pesto I found, it also helps give this a slight nutty aroma that I absolutely love. I was all too happy to smear this all over some pasta for a quick dinner. Not to mention you’re getting tons of green goodness on your plate.
For those of you with nut allergies, certainly give this pesto a try, it's good on toast, pasta (my fave), crackers, as a pizza base maybe. I could go on and on. It was also a hit with my kids who surprisingly had no idea it was made out of kale.
Makes: 1 1/4 Cups
- 3 cups packed, washed fresh kale
- 2 Tbsp garlic (minced)
- 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- ½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup oil (I used grapeseed)
- ¾ tsp salt
- Toast your sunflower seeds in a large skillet on low heat swirl until golden colored. Set aside to cool.
- Place half the kale and add all other ingredients except oil in food processor.
- Pulse on low and add rest of kale as you go along. Drizzle in oil once all kale is in processor.
- Process until desired consistency. Scraping down sides as necessary.
Note: keeps in tight lid jar for about 2-3 days in the refrigerator. You can also add a little oil on top to keep it moist.