Kale-Walnut Pesto And Parmesan Pastry Twists Recipe

Holiday gatherings often call for simple and easy-to-make appetizers that delight guests without overwhelming the host. Amidst the usual spread of festive treats, these unique pesto twists offer a delightful variation from the norm. Traditional pesto, typically made with basil, takes a season-appropriate spin in this recipe with the substitution of Tuscan kale and walnuts. This not only aligns with the hearty flavors associated with colder months but also adds a nutritious punch to the dish. With a vibrant green color and all the flavor of basil pesto, this kale and walnut version makes a great addition to any recipe that calls for pesto. 

The rich, earthy tones of the kale blend seamlessly with the crunchy, sweetly nutty walnuts, creating a pesto that is both robust and flavorful. When the pesto is spread onto flaky puff pastry that is baked until golden brown, these twists emerge as an unusual appetizer that's ready in minutes. Recipe developer Taylor Murray walks us through the steps for creating this easy yet scrumptious snack that your guests will love.

Gather the ingredients for the kale-walnut pesto and parmesan pastry twists

The twists themselves only need two sheets of frozen puff pastry, pesto, and an egg. In this recipe, we're making a kale pesto, the ingredients for which are Tuscan kale, walnuts, grated Parmesan cheese, lemon, garlic, and olive oil. If you find the taste of kale too strong, you can substitute it with half basil or parsley.

Step 1: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 2: Boil the water

Bring a small pot of water to a boil.

Step 3: Blanch the kale

Add the kale and cook until bright green and slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

Step 4: Cool the kale

Remove, let cool, and squeeze out excess liquid.

Step 5: Prepare to make the pesto

In a blender, combine the blanched kale, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon, and olive oil.

Step 6: Blend until smooth

Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

Step 7: Prepare the puff pastry

Roll out one sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface.

Step 8: Spread the pesto

Spread the pesto evenly onto the pastry, leaving a ½-inch border.

Step 9: Top with more puff pastry

Top with the remaining sheet of pastry, pressing the edges together firmly.

Step 10: Cut the dough

Cut the pastry in half, then across in ½-inch long strips.

Step 11: Twist the strips of dough

Twist each strip several times and place on a baking sheet.

Step 12: Brush with egg wash

Mix a beaten egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush the twists with the egg wash.

Step 12: Bake the twists

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 13: Serve the twists

Serve the twists immediately.

How can I make the kale and walnut pesto twists vegetarian or vegan?

For those looking to adapt this recipe to a vegetarian or vegan diet, the primary issue is the Parmesan cheese used in the pesto. Parmesan is traditionally made with animal rennet, which is not vegetarian. Fortunately, there are several vegetarian alternatives to Parmesan cheese available in the market, which are made using non-animal rennet. These alternatives taste just like Parmesan cheese but are made slightly differently. For a vegan version, you can use nutritional yeast or a vegan cheese substitute. Nutritional yeast provides a cheesy and nutty flavor and is a popular choice in plant-based cooking for its flavor and nutritional profile: It provides a big dose of B vitamins.

Additionally, the egg wash used for the puff pastry can be substituted with plant-based milk or with oil, both of which will give the twists a golden color when baked. To make the recipe fully vegan without compromising the texture or flavor of the final product, always ensure that the puff pastry you choose is vegan, as some brands may use butter or other animal products. Many well-known and readily available brands of puff pastry, such as Pillsbury and Pepperidge Farm, are vegan products.

Can I prepare the kale and walnut pesto twists in advance?

Preparing the kale and walnut pesto twists in advance is a great way to save time, especially if you're planning for a party or a gathering during the busy festive season. The pesto can be made up to a week in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. In fact, this advanced preparation allows the flavors to meld together and actually enhances the taste. If you find the pesto too thick after refrigeration, you can adjust its consistency by adding a little extra olive oil before spreading it on the pastry.

As for the puff pastry, you can assemble the twists a day ahead and store them unbaked in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover them tightly with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. When you're ready to bake, you can proceed directly from the fridge to the oven, adding just a couple of minutes to the baking time if necessary. This approach not only saves time but also ensures that the twists are freshly baked and crisp for your guests.

Kale-Walnut Pesto And Parmesan Pastry Twists Recipe
5 from 13 ratings
Unusual, elegant, and ready in half an hour, kale-walnut pesto and parmesan pastry twists are a tasty appetizer to liven up festive gatherings.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
17
minutes
Servings
12
Servings
Baked parmesan pesto pastry twists
Total time: 27 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 cups Tuscan kale, roughly torn
  • ¼ cup raw walnuts
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add the kale and cook until bright green and slightly wilted, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove, let cool, and squeeze out excess liquid.
  5. In a blender, combine the blanched kale, walnuts, Parmesan, garlic, lemon, and olive oil.
  6. Blend until smooth, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
  7. Roll out one sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface.
  8. Spread the pesto evenly onto the pastry, leaving a ½-inch border.
  9. Top with the remaining sheet of pastry, pressing the edges together firmly.
  10. Cut the pastry in half, then across in ½-inch long strips.
  11. Twist each strip several times and place on a baking sheet.
  12. Mix a beaten egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush the twists with the egg wash.
  13. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  14. Serve the twists immediately.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 150
Total Fat 14.2 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 17.5 mg
Total Carbohydrates 2.8 g
Dietary Fiber 0.4 g
Total Sugars 0.2 g
Sodium 90.7 mg
Protein 3.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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