Apr 012013
 

Kale 3 Ways – Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce, Kale Basil Pesto and Quinoa Power Bowl

Quinoa Power Bowl

There was a certain time during our camping trip last week that I took my life into my own hands. I was in a stare down with a tired and hungry 4 year old after a day of sun and fun with no nap. I needed to whip up something fast and healthy because I had already busted her hiding under a pillow with marshmallows stuffed in her cheeks like a chipmunk with a third waiting to follow.  Needless to say she was not thrilled when I grabbed the lone remaining marshmallow.

I quickly set some water on to boil and pulled some brown rice noodles, nutritional yeast (nooch) and a jar of quality pasta sauce in the cupboard of my little teardrop shaped trailer and some kale from the mini fridge.  (What, that’s not normal camping fare?) With those ingredients I made a semi-homemade cheesy kale tomato sauce with a vegan twist by stirring in some nutritional yeast as I heated the sauce and then simmering some finely chopped kale right in the sauce to wilt it down nicely. Voila – it looked like normal pasta sauce but had lots of protein, vitamins and minerals.  Once I got home I simply had to create it from scratch. It was super simple to do and would be great over salad, tofu and tempeh, poured over baked dishes or anywhere sauce is used.  It’s rich and hearty and has a great balance of acidity, sweet and savory flavors.  After trying the sauce, my daughter ate at least a full cup of the made- from-scratch version.  I’d much rather see her cheeks fully of healthy sauce than marshmallows!

Kale and Nutritional Yeast

What is nutritional yeast? Find out here. And why all the kale? Kale is that powerful and vibrantly green plant that packs a huge nutrient punch. It is one of the sources of plant based calcium that is super absorbable and alkalizing. It also helps to lower cholesterol, fights inflammation and oxidative stress and has tons of vitamin K, A and C.

Quinoa Bowl and Fresh Pesto

The idea for the quinoa power bowl came from a breakfast dish I had recently at a local restaurant.  Their quinoa and kale is typically served with tomatoes, a creamy pesto, chicken and feta so I had to do lots of “leave this off please“.  I loved the idea, but there were way too many animal based foods in it.  I decided to nix the chicken, feta and creamy pesto and create a virgin olive oil based pesto with fresh garlic, kale and some of the Cheesy Kale Tomato sauce.  Wowza!  The fresh pesto really makes this dish pop. There is nothing like aromatic basil and garlic with a touch of salt; what a versatile recipe.  Here are some ideas of how to use pesto; use it as a spread for sandwiches, stir into soups, use it on pasta, top any vegetable or salad, make hummus or potato salad!

Time Crunched?

If you don’t have time to make the sauce from scratch but want to try your hand at the quinoa power bowl, simply do what I did the first time – purchase your favorite store bought brand, heat and stir in 2 cups kale and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast.  No time even for that? Open a can of fire roasted tomatoes, drain and use in place of tomato sauce on the Quinoa Bowl.

Another time saving tip.

There are many delicious store bought versions of pesto.  Simply purchase one and add a tbsp to each plate.

Have some extra time to make all three?  Here is a handy grocery list.

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce (Vegan)

Basic sauce recipe by Giada De Laurentiis
Makes about 5 cups
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients 

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 dried bay leave, crushed
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3 (14.5 oz) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
3/4 tsp sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp agave
2 cups finely chopped kale
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a Dutch oven or large stock pot.  Add onion, saute until translucent, about two minutes; add garlic, saute n additional minute.  Add carrot and saute about 5 minutes. Add bay, basil, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes.

2. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until semi-smooth or to desired texture.  Alternatively; process the sauce in a food processor until smooth; stir in agave.

3. Add kale and simmer an additional 20 minutes.

4. Stir in nutritional yeast; and taste to check seasoning.

**If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

Kale Basil Pesto

Kale Basil Pesto

Kale Basil Pesto

Makes about 1/2 cup
Serves 4
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe
 

 

Ingredients

1/2 cup chopped kale
Handful fresh basil
3 cloves fresh garlic
2 Tbsp oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup vegetable broth

Directions

1. Blend all ingredients in a magic bullet or blender.

 

Quinoa Power Bowl

Quinoa Power Bowl

Quinoa Power Bowl with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Basil Pesto

Inspired by First Watch
Serves 4 (plus extra quinoa for another use)
Vegan, Gluten Free
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup dry quinoa
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped, divided
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
4 cups chopped kale
2 cups Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce (or sub store bought tomato sauce of choice)
1/2 cup Kale Basil Pesto (or sub store bought pesto of choice)

Directions

1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer; heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium stock pan; add quinoa, onion and 2 cloves garlic to heated oil; toast by stirring about 3 minutes; add 1/4 tsp salt and vegetable broth; cover and simmer 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, covered and let sit 5 minutes. (Makes 4 cups. Reserve 2 cups for recipe and set aside 2 cups for another use.)

2. Heat second Tbsp olive oil in pot originally used for quinoa; add kale and 1/4 sea salt and second 2 cloves garlic.  Saute until wilted; about 5 minutes.

3. Place 1/2 cup quinoa, 1/4 kale mixture; 1/2 cup tomato sauce and 1 Tbsp pesto on each of four plates. Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

**I have been making quesadillas with my leftover quinoa – delicious!

Nutrition Information
___________________

Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce (Vegan)

Kale Basil Pesto

Quinoa Power Bowl with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Basil Pesto (For the quinoa and kale only.) 
Kale 3 Ways – Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce, Kale Basil Pesto and Quinoa Power Bowl

  8 Responses to “Kale 3 Ways – Cheesy Kale Tomato Sauce, Kale Basil Pesto and Quinoa Power Bowl”

  1. Ooh, I LOVE kale…put it in everything, including pasta sauce. Can’t wait to try these recipes! And your mom radar (eating marshmallows under the pillows…lol!) and quick cooking reflexes are fantastic. Great story!

    • Oh my gosh – she said she wanted some “privacy” in the camper so I thought well ok maybe she is super tired and just wants to rest. She was under her pillow pet and I opened the door and said are you tired?? She kept saying no she just needed a minute. It was so weird that I whipped the pillow pet off and there she was-busted!!!!

  2. I am sending this to my daughter. She will love it! She doesn’t know what to do with all the kale they have been getting in there delivery box.

    • Oh good! Yes I was just thinking last night that I could probably go through one bunch of kale per day. Yikes! She will LOVE these recipes (they came out pretty well if I do say so LOL!)

  3. All 3 recipes were divine! There is so much cheesy kale tomato sauce leftover and that’s a good thing because it was so good – gonna use it for another dish or 2! I used more kale and I used my blender for the sauce (blended the kale too by accident but the sauce still remained a great color). Thanks so much :). Love the pesto recipe too – nice to sneak the kale in there and use less oil than I usually do in my pesto.

  4. [...] replacement for ground oatmeal in my favorite 10 minute, 5 ingredient black bean burgers or this super easy cheesy kale tomato sauce, I love sprinkling it on my daughter’s quesadillas for added protein and on her tortilla [...]

  5. Made this again for the family (including an 8 and 11 year old!) – love it and makes extra yummy tomato sauce to use for other dishes or freeze. Thanks again :).

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