nut and dairy-free (kale) pesto
Pesto is amazing. Not only is it extremely easy to make, super nutritious and incredibly versatile, but kids love it! I have known toddlers who will turn up their nose to vegetables, that when presented with a plate full of pasta smothered in pesto will eat up with whole bowl. This is why I love sneaking leafy greens into my pesto, because it becomes so concentrated that even a forkful of it can be a whole lot of greens for a picky little one.
Recently we pin-pointed a dairy sensitivity for my 3-year old, so I was really bummed that I wouldn't be making my go-to pesto recipe anymore loaded up with excessive amounts of delicious parmesan. But after some experimentation, I noticed that replacing the cheese with a small amount of non-dairy milk gives the same creaminess to the pesto. Also, PINE NUTS ARE SUPER EXPENSIVE!! And I almost never have them on hand. So my recipe calls for raw pumpkin seeds, which I always have in my pantry, are chocked full of protein, and also make this a great pesto to send little ones to school with because it is nut-free.
The resulting pesto is creamy and super flavorful and can be put on practically anything! For dinner tonight I put it on a baked sweet potato with lentil salad and vegan cream cheese. But even just putting it on plain old pasta will make sure your kids get an extra boost of leafy greens for the day!
nut and dairy-free
time: 5 minutes
1 cup fresh basil, leaves only
1 cup kale
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (the better the oil the better the pesto!)
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
zest from 1/2 a lemon
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes scraping down the sides as needed. Enjoy! Can be stored for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge, or frozen into ice cubes to be defrosted as needed.
Note: if you aren't sure how your kids will take to the kale flavor, start with 1/2 cup of kale and 1 and 1/2 cups of basil and work your way up to that full cup! Also, the kale can easily be swapped for fresh spinach leaves, which has a milder taste :)