Each week I try to rotate the veggies I buy because I really do believe that variety is such a great way to ensure our nutritional needs are met. I also make sure a good part of what I buy is green and leafy. Leafy green vegetables have more nutrients per calorie than any other food. Forget fancy and expensive ‘super’ foods, leafy greens like kale are as nourishing as it gets.
Kale isn’t one of my families favourite greens but that just makes me more determined to find a delicious way for them to enjoy it – and this pasta hits the mark. As it’s in season right now in the southern hemisphere it’s a great time to try this delicious meal.
Kale’s high level of nutrients (both vitamins and minerals) coupled with many potent, immune enhancing and anti-inflammatory Phyto (plant) chemicals, results in much-needed virus protection at this time of year. I believe consuming greens daily during winter (when they are in season), is a key factor in preventing colds and flu. Nature, as always, provides.
The combination of the quinoa and rice in the pasta along with the almonds forms a complete vegetarian protein too making this a nutritionally balanced, vegetarian meal.
Take a look at the variations (below the main recipe) for suggestions to alter the recipe to suit your specific dietary requirements. You’ll also find a tip for convincing leafy green reluctant kids.
If you’re looking to save money across pantry items such as nuts, seeds, flours and also gluten-free pasta (I buy the Ceres Organic Rice and Quinoa pasta here), I personally shop at The Wholefood Collective – great whole foods at heavily discounted prices (all home delivered), click HERE to take a look.
This dish I developed out of wanting to include the nourishing stems of the kale in a meal. I often save them to add to bone broth but I wanted another option... and so this delicious, nutritious pasta was born.
- 4-5 large stems of curly kale, washed well
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 50 grams (approx.) parmasan cheese
- 1 cup almonds, toasted
- Big handful basil leaves
- Juice and zest one small lemon
- 60 ml (¼ cup) extra virgin olive oil
- Black pepper, to taste
- 250 grams rice quinoa penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra extra virgin olive oil plus 1 tbsp water
Start with stripping the leaves off the kale stems, tearing them into small pieces and finely chopping the remaining kale stems.
Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a large pot and boil the chopped stems (not the leaves) for 5 minutes (or until they have softened). Strain and set aside.
Refill the pot with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook your penne until al dente.
Meanwhile make the pesto.
In a food processor, chop the garlic. Thermomix 5 sec, speed 7.
Add the parmesan and process until finely grated. Thermomix 10 sec, speed 7.
Add half of the almonds and pulse until finely chopped. Thermomix pulse approx. 3 times.
Add the basil, cooked kale stems, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and pepper and pulse until it forms a course pesto. Thermomix pulse approx. 3-4 times.
Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and return the pan to a moderate heat. Add the extra 2 tablespoons olive oil and water and then add the kale leaves. Sauté stirring constantly until it is just wilted (but not browned).
Once they are wilted, return the pasta, pesto, remaining toasted almonds to the pot and stir to combine over a low heat.
Substitute the almonds with toasted sunflower seeds.
Choose a gluten-free penne (I love rice and quinoa pasta).
Dairy-free and vegan
Replace the parmesan with nutritional yeast and a good teaspoon of sea salt.
Add in more veggies
I love to add in other vegetables sometimes too. A handful of cherry tomatoes, broccoli and sautéed mushrooms work really well, as does roasted sweet potato.
Add chicken or tuna
To up the protein content of the meal (though no longer vegetarian) add in cooked chicken or a can of tuna.
If your looking to convince your kids in the greens department...
Click HERE for loads of tips and recipe ideas.