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Heirloom Tomato Stacks with Bocconcini and Kale Pesto

Jun 03, 2015 04:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Rhea’s Rundown

This beautiful dish only takes about 45 minutes to make and with the kale pesto, it’s a deliciously healthy twist on a classic. Forte states;

“The kale pesto is a nutritionally dense take on a classic. It tastes slightly earthier than its basil counterpart, but it is well matched with those sweet summer tomatoes and creamy balls of mozzarella. Any leftovers make a great sandwich spread or, with a bit more lemon juice added, a tasty salad dressing.” (Forte, 62)

As always, local produce is the best, and I got my heirloom tomatoes from Diehl’s Produce Stand. You can also substitute yellow tomatoes, which have less acidity.

Ingredients – Serves 4 to 6

Kale Pesto
  • 1 small bunch Lacinato (Tuscan) kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup lightly toasted walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Tomato Stack
  • 2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes (about 4 large tomatoes)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flaked sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1 cup small mozzarella balls (baby bocconcini or pearline), drained
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish


1. To make the pesto, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the tough stems out of the kale and coarsely chop the leaves. Blanch the kale leaves until the color brightens, 30 seconds to 1 minute, then quickly transfer to a strainer and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Once the kale is cool, squeeze out the excess water and set aside in the strainer. You should get about 1 ½ cups of blanched kale.

2. In a food processor, combine the garlic, Parmesan, lemon juice, and walnuts and pulse to chop. Add the kale, water, and ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper and pulse to combine. Turn the processor on and drizzle in the olive oil until get the consistency you like. You will be tossing the mozzarella balls in the pesto, so it can’t be too thick. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper, if necessary.

3. Slice the tomatoes and place the slices in a bowl. Drizzle the tablespoon of olive oil on top and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt flakes. In a separate bowl, toss the mozzarella with about ½ cup of the pesto.

4. To assemble the dish, put a dollop of kale pesto on a salad plate and layer about three tomato slices on top of the pesto, with a few of the bocconcini between the slices. Repeated with the remaining ingredients. Sprinkle each plate with a bit of Parmesan and serve at room temperature.

Forte, Sara. “Heirloom Tomato Stacks with Bocconcini and Kale Pesto.” The Sprouted Kitchen: a tastier take on whole foods. Ten Speed Press, Random House, Inc. New York. 2014. Print.

Rhea Torreon
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