Kale & Walnut Pesto Crostini with Radish

This delicious kale pesto is made with toasted walnuts, Pecorino Romano cheese, garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Here it is served on a crostini and garnished with thinly sliced radish twists. Pesto is a versatile sauce, so if you're not in the mood for this particular combination, try it served on pizza, pasta, ravioli, tortellini, grilled vegetable sandwiches or steamed fish. To preserve the bright green color, directly press plastic wrap onto its surface. Pesto will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days or it can be frozen in individual cubes, in an ice cube tray, for up to 3 months. If kale is not available, substitute other greens, such as radish tops. To learn about the health benefits of kale, click here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/2 ounces pecorino romano cheese (about 2/3 cup), roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves torn OR other greens (about 12 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4   radishes, very thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 sourdough baguette, sliced into ¼ inch rounds

Instructions:

  1. Place walnuts in a small skillet and toast over medium low heat. Stirring frequently until the walnuts start to brown and smell toasted, about 5 minutes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add kale and cook until wilted, about 30 seconds. Transfer the kale to a colander; allow to cool slightly and squeeze dry.
  3. Place pieces of cheese in a food processor. Blend until the cheese is finely chopped.
  4. Add cooked kale, basil, garlic, pepper and lemon juice to the food processor. Process until finely chopped.
  5. With the machine running, add the oil through the feed tube in a slow, steady stream.
  6. To make a radish twist, cut a slit into each slice of radish, halfway through the center. Hold each slice with both hands and gently twist ends in opposite directions.
  7. Assemble by placing a small spoonful of pesto onto a slice of bread and placing the radish twist on top of the pesto.

Recipe Developed by: Chef Ashley R. Van Cise, RDN, LD