Gulf Shrimp with Kale Pesto Recipe

For a healthy taste fresh from the Gulf, Chef Lisa Resch of Carolina Catering Co. shares her recipe for Gulf Shrimp with Kale Pesto.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Lisa Resch, Carolina Catering Co., Naples
Photography by Vanessa Rogers

Gulf Shrimp with Kale Pesto recipe - summertime picnic recipes - Fourth of July recipes for the picnic


Gulf Shrimp with Kale Pesto

   Serves 6

Gulf Shrimp

  • 2 pounds (16- to 20-count) Gulf shrimp
  • 1 tbsp. good olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.


Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. Place them on a sheet pan with the olive oil, salt, and pepper and spread them in one layer. Roast for 8 to10 minutes, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.


Kale Pesto

  • 4 cups (tightly packed) chopped kale leaves
  • 2 tsp. + 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 large cloves garlic (to taste)
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime or lemon juice
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan
  • Salt to taste (I used about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt.)


Coarsely chop the kale leaves and measure out 4 cups of packed chopped kale. Give the kale a good wash in the salad spinner if it needs it and spin dry. Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and sauté the kale just until it wilts, about 2-3 minutes over medium heat.

   Put the wilted kale and garlic into the food processor (using the steel blade) and chop until finely chopped. Add the basil leaves, put the lid on the food processor, and add the olive oil and lemon juice through the feed tube while you process the mixture. When it’s fairly well combined, add the coarsely grated Parmesan and salt, and process until the pesto is as smooth as you’d like it (about 1 minute for me.) 

   Toss the shrimp with the kale pesto and one pint halved cherry tomatoes. Garnish with the zest of one lemon, and ½ cup toasted pine nuts, if desired.


Note: This pesto can be frozen in ice-cube trays or small mini-muffin tin cups. This pesto is also a delicious addition to soups or salad dressings, stirred into hot rice or cooked beans, or eaten with pasta.


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