Looking for Kale recipes to use up a lot of kale?
Make 1 Italian dish – Pesto and 1 Indian dish – Thogayal at the same time. Think about it – Pesto and thogayal | thuvaiyal | chutney are very similar in process, just a few regional variations mark the flavor of each dish.
So, if you have already taken the blender out for making pesto, why not take a portion of it and make thogayal for the next meal? Using the same base recipe, a busy mom/dad can now whip up pasta for lunch and have thogayal with rice for dinner or as a side dish for your idli/dosa.
The fact that you are consuming quite a bit of kale in the process is a double bonus. If kale is not available in your region, substitute it with a hearty green (not soft ones like spinach).
Let me give you a basic introduction to each dish. People who are already familiar with the dishes can skip to the next part of the blog post.
Pesto is a traditional Italian paste/sauce made from a combination of basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. That is the basic recipe. However, many variations exist. Instead of basil, one can use parsley, spinach, mint, arugula, kale etc. Pine nuts are very expensive. People, often use almonds or walnuts instead.
Thogayal is a tamil paste-like dish that accompanies rice, very similar to chutney, but a bit coarser and with slight variations in ingredients. Typical ingredient list for thogayal include urad dal, coconut, red chillies, tamarind, mustard seeds and some vegetable. Instead of coconut, I have used walnut for creaminess
How to save time making 2 items together
Pair commonalities of recipe together: Base paste = Garlic, kale and walnut
Both recipes then use this formula = Base paste + acidity + protein + spice/heat
Italian Pesto = Base paste + lemon + parmesan + pepper
South Indian Thogayal = Base paste + tamarind + urad dal + red chillies
Step by Step pics
Roast walnuts in oven at 350F for about 7-8 minutes.
In about 2 tsp of oil, add 4-5 chopped garlic pieces
Add roughly chopped kale pieces (I used nearly 10 oz, 5 cups) to pan and saute 3-4 minutes.
Add cooked kale and garlic to blender
Add 1 cup of roasted walnuts to blender
With very little to no water, grind the ingredients into a smooth paste.
Take out half the paste and follow instructions below to form pesto.
To the remaining half paste, add the blend shown below to make thogayal
Make 2 dishes from Italian and South Indian Cuisines at the same time and use up a lot of Kale in the process.
- 2 tsp oil (olive oil is best)
- 4-5 Garlic, chopped
- 10 oz Kale chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1 cup Walnuts
- Lemon zest
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp oil
- 2-3 tbsp Urad dal
- 2 Red chillies
- Juice of 1 lemon-size tamarind
- 2 Pinch Hing
- Salt to taste
Roast walnuts in oven at 350F for about 7-8 minutes.
In about 2 tsp of oil, add 4-5 chopped garlic pieces and saute for a few seconds.
Add 5 cups of roughly chopped kale pieces to pan. If the kale is too much, add half, wait for it to wilt under heat and then add the other half. Saute 3-4 minutes.
Add cooked kale and garlic to blender. Add 1 cup of roasted walnuts to blender
With very little or no water, grind the ingredients into a smooth paste.
Take out half the paste and add to bowl. Add grated lemon zest, juice and parmesan cheese.
Cook pasta according to packet directions. Add hot pasta to pesto. If paste is too thick, add a little pasta water to get it flowing. You could add olive oil if you want a richer version. Adjust salt and pepper to personal preference.
Get tamarind water ready by soaking a ball of tamarind in 1/2 cup of water
In a pan heat few tsp of oil. Add urad dal, red chillies, hing and roast well. Switch off heat.
Add tamarind water to pan. Pour all contents into remaining kale paste in blender.
Blitz until desired consistency.
You can add extra tadka/seasoning with mustard seeds to the thogayal after it is done. It will add extra crunch and flavor.
Questions from culinary purists:
Pesto purists – Why have you not added olive oil to pesto? I used (gasp!!) pasta water to lighten the pesto. Given the walnuts and the parmesan cheese, I feel there is enough fat in the dish. If you were using a zucchini noodle pasta or a low carb veggie pasta, then it makes sense for all the oil. This is my personal opinion, feel free to change it as per your taste and health requirements.
Thogayal purists – Yes, I have used walnut instead of coconut in thogayal. But trust me, the creaminess of the walnut will distract you from the lack of coconut + it is healthier. Win-win!!
Advantages of using this technique:
- I think the worst part of making sticky pastes like thogayal and pesto is blender-cleaning part. Since I can churn out 2 of these dishes with only 1 cleaning session, I am happy.
- My kids love pesto pasta, my husband and I love spicy thogayal. This combo keeps both sides happy.
- Greens are the king of superfoods, everyone is aware of this, I don’t need to dig out stats to confirm that. Ideally, I would like to cook greens everyday, but that is proving quite challenging. This combination helps me keep greens in circulation atleast once a week.
- Finally and most importantly, if you plan this ahead mentally, you can save a lot of time. Get the pasta boiling, put rice in the cooker, prepare this recipe and you have 2 proper dishes ready to eat.
Have you tried kale thogayal or pesto before? Share your thoughts, comments down below. As always, I love hearing from you!!