Sauces and spreads are one of those foods generally bogged down with additives and preservatives.  Luckily, they are also one of the most simple things to make and even easier to freeze for later.  I like to put my pesto into an ice-cube tray, so that I have the perfect serving size for small dinners. So bust out your food processor and up the flavor and nutrients of tonight's meal. I found this recipie on the fabulous food blog Cooking on the Weekend, by Valentina Kenney Wein.  I LOVE her use of kale (of course) and also the smoky, burn of the bell pepper.

 

Kale and Bell Pepper Pesto

INGREDIENTS

2 cup Pecans, roasted

1 medium Red Bell Pepper, roasted

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 to 4 large Garlic Cloves, roasted

4 cups packed green Kale Leaves (about 1/2 bunch)

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS
  1. To roast the pecans: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and spread the nuts evenly on a baking sheet. When the oven is preheated, put the baking sheet in and roast until the nuts look a bit oily and are very aromatic, about 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. To roast the pepper: Place it directly on top of a high flame on the stove and let it cook for a few minutes. You’ll hear it crackle as the skin begins to char. Use metal kitchen tongs to turn the pepper as each side chars. It should be mostly, but not completely black. Then place the pepper in a bowl and cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for about 5 minutes. Remove the plastic and let the pepper become cool enough to handle. Gently peel the skin off the pepper. Break or cut the pepper into a few pieces and then use a paring knife on the inside to remove the white membranes and seeds. Set aside.
  3. Wash, dry, and remove any tough stems from the kale.
  4. In a food processor, make the pesto by blending the kale with the roasted pecans, roasted pepper, and roasted garlic. Once it’s smooth, gradually pour in the olive oil and blend until it’s fully incorporated. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.