I’m always trying to sneak in vegetables at snack time and meal time. Kale, being a power food, is one vegetable that I would like to incorporate into more of my kids’ meals. Although sauteed kale is not their favorite, I’ve found that they will eat it by the spoonfuls if I make pesto out of it. That’s where this Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto comes into play.
Recently, I spotted a recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto made with toasted pumpkin seeds and decided to give it a try. However, as I started making the recipe, I got the brilliant idea of bumping up the nutrition of this pesto even more by adding kale (high in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese) and artichoke hearts (high in fiber and vitamin C). I’ve made Kale Pesto before, but never with artichoke hearts and toasted pumpkin seeds.
I have to confess I ate a few spoonfuls of this straight out of the food processor, before spreading some on homemade whole grain naan chips. When my kids came home after school, they were starving (so what else is new?). What a great opportunity to try to pack (sneak) in some vegetables. That way, even if they’re not very hungry at dinnertime, I know that they’ve eaten something that’s healthier than most snacks. On the upside, my kids might even get a few extra servings of vegetables by the end of the day.
One afternoon, I made a grilled cheese sandwich for my youngest son, with a few dollops of this Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto. He loved it and asked me what was in it. I hesitated to tell him that there was kale in it lest he decide he didn’t want it anymore. After he was done smacking his lips from devouring his grilled cheese, I told him.
I’ve been putting dollops of this kale pesto anywhere I can think of to boost nutrition in my kids’ after-school snacks and meals, including on top of mini pizzas and inside a baked vegetarian pasta the other night. They’ve loved all the different ways I’ve snuck in this kale pesto…actually, they have no idea that I’ve been doing this so please don’t tell.
Today, I’m participating in Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast where Grilled Cheese is being featured. Please be sure to check out what all my talented foodie friends made:
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Grilled Cheese With Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Inside-Out Grilled Cheese With Bacon
Red or Green?: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Red or Green-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Weelicious: Kentucky Hot Brown Panini
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Arugula Sandwich
The Sensitive Epicure: Individual Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese (Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)
Devour: Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Thursday Night Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The Heritage Cook: Open Faced Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Muhammara Grilled Cheese
Feed Me Phoebe: Mexi Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Pepper Jack and Refried Black Beans
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Jarlsberg and Black Forest Ham With a Surprise
FN Dish: Grilled Cheese Goes Beyond Cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 6 cups kale leaves (5 ounces)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup water or more
- 1 cup cooked artichoke hearts
- 1 cup cilantro leaves
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- gluten free rolls or bread
- olive oil
- low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add pumpkin seeds. Saute pumpkin seeds until they pop a little and puff up, about 4 minutes. They do not all have to be brown. Add one chopped garlic clove and cook for one minute. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add kale leaves and cook for a minute, until kale loses its chalky taste. Drain well. Place kale, one chopped garlic clove, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, water, artichoke hearts, cilantro leaves, scallions, and lemon juice. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.
- Spread a generous amount of on one side of roll or slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese or some shredded cheese. Lightly brush outside of roll or bread with olive oil. Grill on a panini press or in a cast iron skillet until nicely browned on both sides.