Good morning – I have a fun new recipe to share with you guys today: Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto! This is a great winter twist on pesto, as it doesn’t require basil, but still tastes delicious. Matt and I enjoyed it last night atop some baked fish and we both gave it two big thumbs up.
This recipe is not one that I created, though – the genius behind this recipe (which I’ll share below) is fellow Registered Dietitian Allen Tran, MS, RD, who is the official USSA High Performance Chef! What’s USSA? It’s the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. It’s the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, and operates out of the national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, in Park City, UT. Cool job to work for them, huh?!
Allen created this recipe using Blue Diamond Almonds, which are the official snack nut of the US Ski Team and US Snowboarding! He’s been integrating the heart-healthy superfood into the dietary plans and meals prepared for athletes as part of their elite training regime leading up to and during the 2014 Winter Games. (Sidenote – anyone else ridiculously excited for the Winter Games?! 30 days to go – there’s a countdown here!)
Anyway! My friends at Blue Diamond sent over a few of Allen’s favorite almond recipe creations for me to try out and share with you. I loved the look of all of them, but this wintery and nutritious pesto recipe really caught my eye. Kale instead of basil? Almonds instead of pine nuts? Interesting. I couldn’t wait to try it!
We still have some Sizzlefish goodies in our freezer (more info about Sizzlefish in this post), so I was inspired by an old favorite recipe of mine, my Pesto Baked Salmon, and decided to create a variation of it last night with the Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto and some Atlantic Cod.
The pesto was really easy to make. I just threw all the ingredients into our Vitamix and whirled away! It’s not quite as easy as using a food processor for this sort of thing (I had to scrape down the sides a few times), but it worked. :)
A few minutes later, and voila!
I put the thawed fish on a baking sheet and added a spoonful of pesto on top. I threw some zucchini in there too, just for fun. It went into the oven at 375 for 15 minutes, along with some asparagus, since Matt loves roasted asparagus. :)
While we waited for our dinner to cook, Matt and I enjoyed some Cambria Pinot Noir, which rocked, btw. Totally buying this again!
We also had fun playing with Zara. :) This dangly string toy is her favorite – she carries it all around the house with her. Too funny!
When we first got Zara from the shelter, she had just gotten spayed and then got a cold, so she was pretty lethargic. I think she was also a bit malnourished. Now – she has so much personality! She’s still sweet and likes sitting with/on us on the couch, but she’s a lot more playful and energetic, which is fun. She’s gotten strong, too – she can jump so high!
Aaaaaaanyway. What was I talking about?
Oh yeah – pesto. :) 15 minutes later, and dinner was ready! That was easy.
I was originally planning to make a salad or serve this with quinoa or something, but Matt was he wasn’t all that hungry, and neither was I, so we went the full on veggie-tastic route.
Just as delicious as I’d hoped. You know something is good when it gets Matt to eat fish (Atlantic Cod isn’t all that fishy, which helps, too). :)
Here’s the recipe – enjoy it!
Blue Diamond Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto
created by Allen Tran, MS, RD – USSA High Performance Chef
(makes 1 ½ cups pesto)
- ½ cup Blue Diamond Roasted Almonds (Note: you can substitute raw or slivered almonds)
- 1 9-ounce container of baby kale leaves
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- zest of one lemon (optional – we skipped this)
- 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted almonds)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Add all of the ingredients to a food processor. (This recipe can be done in a blender, but may require additional olive oil or side scraping to blend smoothly.) Puree until the mixture is smooth.
To store, refrigerate with plastic wrap pushed directly onto the surface of the pesto, this will prevent browning. To freeze, spoon small portions onto a wax paper-lined small plate or baking sheet, freeze, and transfer to plastic freezer bags.
Thank you to Blue Diamond Almonds, the world’s largest almond processing & marketing company, for sponsoring this post!
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