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Kale has definitely become the green of the month–well, the year really. And while eating it may seem like you are caving in to the food trends, this hearty green is actually very good for you. It’s packed with health-promoting sulfur compounds, and it has been found to have the greatest antioxidant capacity of all fruits and vegetables. It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as manganese, and if that’s not enough, the former frowned at green is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and potassium. Stewing (and in the case of this recipe, steaming) kale brings out a subtle sweetness. Beth Fink submitted a recipe for Kale Pesto that she serves with Turkey Meatballs and pasta. It’s a hearty dish–perfect for winter, and so delicious, no one will fault you for hanging with the trendy set.

Turkey Meatballs and Kale Pesto

Meatballs:

1 lb. ground turkey

1 lb. Italian turkey sausage, casing removed

1c. fine, Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1 whole egg, beaten

2 egg whites, beaten

1/3c. grated Parmesan cheese

1/4c. flat-leaf Italian parsley, minced

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat broiler.

2. In a large bowl, combine turkey and sausage. Sprinkle bread crumbs over meat and blend in using a large spoon. Add beaten eggs and mix well.

3. Sprinkle cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper over mixture and blend again with spoon.

4. Shape into golfball-size rounds and roll meatballs gently until smooth.

5. Place meatballs in a metal pie tin about 1 1/2 inches apart so they have room to roll around.

6. Place under broiler until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Shake tin gently two or three times during cooking to expose all sides of meatballs to broiler. (Makes about 20 meatballs.)

For the Pesto:
1/2 bunch kale (about 2 large stocks)- stems discarded
1 lb. pasta
1/4 cup walnuts (or pine nuts)- toasted
1/2 cup parmesan/peccorino cheese – plus more for garnishing
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt + pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the kale and cook until tender about 5 minutes.
2. Once tender, remove, place kale in a colander and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out excess water and set aside.
3. Add pasta into the boiling water from the kale and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving at least 1/3 c. of pasta water to use later. Return the pasta to the pot.
4. Meanwhile, add the kale, garlic, parmesan, garlic, salt + pepper, toasted walnuts into the container of a food processor. Pulse and gradually add the extra virgin olive oil until all is combined and pesto is smooth.
5.  When pasta is cooked and ready add in pesto and combine until the pasta is completely covered. You can use the pasta water to loosen the pesto as necessary.
6. Splash on the lemon juice and toss mixture together. Add cooked Turkey Meatballs that have been halved and toss again. Garnish with more parmesan cheese, if desired.
Turkey Meatballs and Kale Pesto was last modified: by

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