CSACookbook1I’ve expressed my adoration for Linda Ly’s Garden Betty Blog before, so of course I was thrilled to be given the chance to review her first book, The CSA Cookbook.

With this book, Linda aims to help us “cook your way through a CSA box or backyard garden bounty with seasonal recipes.” Her blog is such a wealth of unique and helpful information on sustainable gardening and cooking, I know I would enjoy any printed resource she produced. What makes the CSA Cookbook truly special however, is that it encourages and instructs us to cook with “extra” parts of the vegetable – the leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems that normally go to waste or straight to the compost pile.

This method of cooking is not only more sustainable and economical, it introduces us to a whole new range of flavors, textures, and nutrients.

CSAcookbook2 CSAcookbook3 CSAcookbook4In this spirit, I chose to make the kale stem pesto over the weekend. It was pretty awesome to make a whole meal based on a part of a vegetable I usually toss away or compost, and then still have an entire bunch of kale leaves left over for my favorite sesame kale salad.

The kale stem pesto was delicious – bright and creamy with the perfect amount of spice. I enjoyed it over pasta, but will definitely be making some sandwiches with the leftovers.

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Linda cites her family’s Asian heritage for training her to use the whole vegetable, but the sense of experimentation and adventure evident throughout the cookbook is all her own. I know my compost pile is about to feel a bit neglected.

Kale Stem Pesto (from The CSA Cookbook, Voyager Press, 2015)


  • 1 cup chopped kale stems
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley with stems
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil


Add all 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. Continue pulsing and add the oil in a slow, steady stream until well blended. Process to your liking, depending on how smooth or textured you like your pesto.