• Use all the odds and sods in your pantry or fridge. (Will Taylor / Harvard Common Press)Source: Will Taylor / Harvard Common Press

How many kale recipes have you come across in which the directions tell you to reserve the stems for “another use” or even discard them altogether? Well, friends, this is your other use. 

1.5 cups



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Those rigid stems and ribs we often remove are the star of the show here, and they’re every bit as fresh and earthy as their leafy counterparts. Used raw, they’re a great pairing for the tangy lemon in this pesto. You’re not solely limited to kale stems, either; try this with your other neglected stems, such as cauliflower or broccoli.


  • 1 cup (100 g) chopped kale stems
  • ½ cup (30 g) packed fresh parsley with stems
  • ½ cup (50 g) toasted walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ to ½ cup (60 to 125 ml) olive oil



Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


1. Add all the ingredients except the oil to a food processor and pulse until crumbly, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.

2. Continue pulsing and add the oil (see Note) in a slow, steady stream until well blended. Some people like their pesto super smooth, but I prefer a bit of texture, so process to your liking.



• For a thick paste that you can spread onto sandwiches and pizzas, use only ¼ cup of oil. For a thin sauce that you can stir into pastas and soups, use a full ½ cup.


Recipe and image from The No-Waste Vegetable Cookbook: Recipes and Techniques for Whole Plant Cooking by Linda Ly, photography by Will Taylor (Harvard Common Press, $35)