Elisenlebkuchen from October '24


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Spring awakening in the pesto glass

🌞 🥬 🧂

By Elli

After succulent roasts, sugary butter cookies, and heavy mulled wine, I'm craving roots, tubers, and green leaves in early January. Kale, however, sounds like a juice cure to me, which is just too strict for me. But I'm pleased to give in to my inner urge for vitamins and earthy flavors.

Kale is actually a typical German winter vegetable. The fact that it has been misunderstood by me and many others is perhaps due to its dull color. Yet it is incredibly healthy and transforms at cold temperatures and winter sun: From 0 ° C it shuts down its metabolism, but continues photosynthesis. Thus, even on cool winter days, it forms more sugar than starch and has fewer bitter substances.

In the cooking pot, the colorless kale has an almost spring-like awakening and takes on a vibrant green. But hot baths, as we all know, should be brief, and so it is with kale: it loses its vitamins if prepared at a high temperature for a long time. Therefore, I blanch it for our pesto only 2-3 minutes.

Ingredients for 4 servings (1 jar):

  • 100 g kale
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 60 g local hazelnut kernels (alternative: walnut kernels)
  • 1/2 - 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 50-100 ml olive oil (native or extra virgin)
  • salt & pepper

Clean kale, wash, pull leaves off hard stems and chop a bit. Bring salted water to a boil and blanch kale in it for 2-3 minutes, rinse in cold water and shake well dry. Leave it to cool.

Toast the hazelnuts in a pan over medium heat until they turn a light color, then let them cool completely. They taste even more intense this way. Peel and chop the garlic.

Blend kale with hazelnuts, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil to make a creamy pesto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tastes great with pasta, for example orecchiette or on bread. Bon appétit.

📅 seasonal 🌶️ slight spiciness (from the garlic) 🍏 happens to be vegan 👨🌾 regional

Shelf life

If you don't want to eat the pesto right away, you can put it in a preserving jar. Fill up the jar with olive oil and put it in the refrigerator. Each time you take it out, keep the jar walls clean and always make sure the surface is covered with a little oil. Covered this way, the pesto can be stored up to 6 months in the refrigerator.


Traditionally, kale should be harvested after the first frost of the year. Therefore, from the home field you can get the kale from November to February.

You have grown the kale yourself in the bed or raised bed? Great, then you should not pull it completely out of the ground in the first year, because it is a biennial plant. Instead, it's a good idea to pick off the leaves of the kale from the outside in. The outer layer of leaves will grow again. This way you can harvest fresh kale again and again during the season. In the second year, the cabbage begins to bloom and the time for snacking is then over. In spring you should harvest it completely and compost it.

The rough surface of the orecchiette absorbs the pesto very well and is therefore our pasta recommendation for this recipe. How to make orecchiette yourself, you can read here:

For more pesto recipes and a suitable jar check out ...

We are always happy about feedback! Feel free to send us an email with your comments or ideas: To lektorat@pfefferundfrost.de

We wish you good luck and bon appétit!

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All prices include VAT and packaging, but exclude shipping costs and any customs duties (for non-EU countries). Pfeffer & Frost – The gift online shop for traditional and vegan Elisenlebkuchen (sustainably packaged) from the metropolitan region of Nuremberg.