I’d like to start a movement called “Save the Stems!” As long as they aren’t the woody variety,* stems can be so wildly versatile and are an excellent way to stretch your leafy greens and make the most of every nutritious square inch. One of my favorite things to do with them is to make pesto.
Kale stems might seem tough, but a quick blanch makes them blender ready (see below for instructions). Add in any other stems (swiss chard, mint, cilantro, parsley, anything else) and the flavors start to get that much more complex and beautiful. Once you’re on your merry way making pesto, take a look around your fridge for anything else that might need using up—stray veggies, cheese or nuts, perhaps? They can all help round out your pasta dish. Before long you’ll have a cleaned-out fridge and a fancy-looking dinner on the table.
The results of this recipe will vary widely depending on what you start with, but the final product will always be delicious. The rendition pictured above was made with swiss chard stems (among others), resulting in the lovely purple-red hue.Print