Kale Pesto Sauce with Shrimp or Chicken Pasta

This pesto sauce is delicious and healthy and can be used in a variety of dishes like shrimp pasta, bacon wrapped chicken, or grilled pork chops.  

I used a recipe from the recipe book that came with the Vitamix series 300 and made a few tweaks.

Time: 15 min

3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 cups of fresh basil leaves
2 cups of fresh kale leaves
3 tablespoons of pine nuts (roasted)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground peppercorn
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced

* This recipe works well without the kale too, if you're not a fan. If you leave it out and replace it with basil, you can also leave the sugar out.

Put all the ingredients in a high-powered blender (I use the Vitamix Series 300), blend for 45 seconds on low (variable 2).  If you prefer a smooth, blended consistency for the pesto, blend it for longer and turn to a higher level (up to variable 9).
Now you've got pesto sauce ready to go with any of the below meals! You can store in a jar or airtight container (like the OXO Locktop containers)  for up to 1 week in the fridge.

Shrimp Pasta Pesto 
Serves 4
Cook time 15 min

Grill 24-28 peeled medium sized shrimp over medium-high heat fry pan (I use the De Buyer pan). If you're using jumbo shrimp, 20-25 should be sufficient.

Make some pasta make sure it's cooked al dente; rotini (Barilla), penne (Riscossa) or fettuccine
(3 nests of la Molisana per person) works best

Heat 1 cup of the pesto sauce over medium heat in a fry pan for 3-4 min, (5-6 min if it was stored in the fridge) stir in the shrimp and pasta, mix for 1 min and serve.

Grilled shrimp with kale pesto sauce on rotini
Chicken breast with kale pesto sauce on penne
For chicken breast pasta instead, prepare 2 chicken breasts. Using a meat tenderizer, pound the breasts for about a minute on each side. I cover the chicken with saran wrap to minimize splatter in the process.  Marinate with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Spread pesto sauce on 1 side of the breast. Wrap in foil loosely and bake for 40-45 min. Unwrap the foil to expose the chicken, turn over to the other side (without the pesto sauce) and broil for the last 5 min. If using a meat thermometre, the temperature should read 165°F or 75°C. 


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