Healthy eating: Snow or not, delicious ways to use kale

Tuscan kale

“Snowmaggedon” or “Snowpocalypse” came into our area with a roar. If you were like me, you were housebound for several days due to the condition of our local roads. We moved here from Burlington, Vermont almost 20 years ago and during our last winter we had 120 inches of snow recorded for our neighborhood. So having this much snow in Edmonds was a treat for us. I love the peacefulness that snow brings. We had lots of bird activity at our feeders and our miniature schnauzers loved chasing snowballs around the yard.

Before the second wave of snow came, my husband and I got out brooms and tried to save trees and bushes that were already overloaded with snow. We lost a few specimens as well as some large branches from a number of trees. Luckily, I remembered to rescue the remaining kale that was in garden. It’s about the last item from our garden that I have been regularly harvesting. The cold snap did not harm the kale. In fact, it made it sweeter, especially when using it raw in “massaged” kale salads. But I decided to err on the side of caution and harvest most of the remaining Lacinato Kale (also known as Dinosaur Kale). I was able to harvest lots of kale. I mean a lot. Lucky me!

I made a tofu and kale stir fry. I made a bean and kale soup. I made massaged kale salads. Everyone in my house except me was getting tired of kale. I cut up some of it and froze it for future tasty meals. And I made one of my all-time favorite quick recipes that can be used in pasta, soups, sauces, etc. It’s a sneaky and easy way to use kale.

I freeze it in ice cube trays to be used later. (When frozen, I pop it out of the ice cube trays and store it in zip-lock bags) This recipe comes together quickly and is a great way to use up any type of hardy greens. You can add spinach, peppers or basil if you want. You can use items that are languishing in your refrigerator’s vegetable drawer. It’s very versatile and can take on a wide range of flavor profiles. I use this pesto with pasta. It’s delicious hot or cold. It disappears quickly in my household too.

The weather people keep telling us to expect more snow. Really? Well when the next storm hits hopefully you will have a few things in the freezer ready to go. Perhaps this pesto will be one of them.

Tuscan Kale Pesto

If all that’s left of summer’s fresh basil is a lingering memory, and you think your days of fresh pesto are behind you, turn to that strong, determined over-wintering kale that’s standing tall in your garden. This pesto recipe is packed full of flavor and loaded with those good-for-you dark leafy green nutrients.

12 large Lacinato kale leaves, midribs removed
2-3 cloves garlic
3 tbsp pine nuts (or walnuts if you prefer)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch kale for 2 minutes.

Strain and plunge kale into an ice bath. Drain kale and squeeze water from it.

In a food processor, combine garlic and pine nuts and grind to a coarse paste.

Add Parmesan and kale and blend until smooth.

With motor still running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

— By Deborah Binder

Deborah Binder lives in Edmonds with her family. She is “dancing with N.E.D.” (no evidence of disease) after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2009. She is a foodie who loves to cook from scratch and share her experiments with her family and friends. She attended culinary school on the East Coast and freelances around town for local chefs. Her current interest in food is learning to eat for health and wellness, while at the same time enjoying the pleasures of the table. As Julia Child once said, “Everything in moderation including butter.” Deborah can be contacted at

  1. Dear Deborah,

    I like your recipes they are always simple, healthy and delicious. I live in a condo so PCC will have to be my supplier. I find I can overdose on Kale so I was especially glad to read you solutions for the plenty.
    Thank you again,
    Ingrid Wolsk

  2. Thank you Ingrid, for your positive outlook on snow and for the thoughts on kale. I happen to like kale, and finding new ways to use it is always fun. I wouldn’t have thought of blanching kale before the pesto, nice tip.

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