Although she most likely did not have a degree in nutrition, your mother was 100% right when she told you to eat your vegetables. As any parent can tell you, getting children (and big “kids”) to eat veggies can be a very difficult task. The trick is to make vegetables interesting and flavorful, and be persistent: studies suggest that most people need to taste foods up to eleven times before they develop a preference for it. Children who are exposed to different vegetables early and observe their parents eating them are also more likely to love the good stuff – so eat your green leafies and colorful veggies early and often. Sometimes, you might have to be sneaky and hide them!
As regular readers of Recipe Friday may have noticed, kale is one of my favorite vegetables. Pound for pound, it is one of the more nutritious foods we can eat, as it is packed with vitamins A, C, K, iron, protein and calcium. It can be intimidating, but when tackled, kale is extremely versatile and delicious. If you are one of the many people who have a hard time getting past the chewy texture of kale, perhaps blending into a creamy pesto is the gateway recipe to developing a soft spot for this nutritional powerhouse.
Zucchini “Pasta” with Kale and Walnut Pesto
Makes about 6 servings
4 cups kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
½ cup fresh basil
½ cup raw walnuts (may substitute pine nuts)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Optional: 4-6 medium zucchini, quartered and sliced thinly into ribbons (this is done best with a mandoline)
Using either an immersion blender or food processor, mix ingredients until smooth. For a fun way to serve, cook zucchini ribbons in well-salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes or until soft. Toss each serving of “pasta” ribbons in 2-3 tablespoons pesto and accompany with sautéed vegetables, grilled meats, or enjoy on its own! This pesto is also great on pasta or as a dip or spread – think sandwiches or bruschetta.
Happy cooking and have a delicious weekend!
Until next time, remember that… there are no excuses when it comes to your health!