Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto & Pasta - 9

By this point last summer I was overrun with zucchini and eggplant and practically running out of creative ideas of how to cook them. Never wanting to repeat the same dish each week, it was a fun challenge all summer long to come up with something new.

This year it seems like we are in inundated with greens! Chard, kale, red & green leaf lettuce, mesclun & arugula just to name a bunch.Β  Unlike my creative streak with squash and eggplant last summer, I seem to prepare my greens the same way.Β  In a salad or sauteed with onions or garlic.

Can you say boring?

Some people can go ahead and throw their greens in a smoothie – but sorry I just can’t drink something that is green.

I won’t even touch green beer on St. Patty’s day.

Then the idea of kale pesto came to mind. I’ve made pesto out of ramps and garlic scapes so far, kale would certainly work and be just as delicious.Β  After all, it is a superfood – what a better way to get it into your diet!

Kale Pesto & Pasta - 1

Kale Pesto

Kale pesto is wonderful tossed with fresh pasta or topped on chicken, steak, fish or pork.

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  • 3 packed cups kale, stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 packed cup basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup parmigiana cheese, grated
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. In the bowl of your food processor add the basil and half of the kale. Pulse 8-10 times until the kale and basil is broken down and add the remainder of the kale plus the garlic, and walnuts. Pulse until it forms a paste.
  2. Add the lemon juice, cheese, salt and pepper. Pulse 2-3 times to combine.
  3. Drizzle the olive oil slowly from the top until the pesto is at your desired consistency.
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Kale Pesto & Pasta - 2

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18 thoughts on “Kale Pesto

    1. Susan

      Not bitter at all, that’s why I added the basil, it takes the bitterness out. It just tastes very green, kind of hard to describe really – I would say on par of spinach pesto maybe?

  1. Cut `n Clean Greens

    Love this new twist on using kale! How perfectly easy! Bet it tastes sensational. We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see your recipe and photo. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on superfood greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard, spinach, escarole, dandelion and other super healthy dark green leafies. https://www.facebook.com/Cut.n.Clean.Greens

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut `n Clean Greens

    1. Susan

      Thank you so much! I was really happy with how this turned out, it was a complete experiment and yes it did taste sensational! I just went ahead and “liked” your Facebook page.

  2. mallory @ totalnoms

    YUM. I love kale and I love pesto – I’ll have to try this out. I tried making a pistachio pesto once, and it was real good…. Pesto is one of those great recipes you can basically substitute every part (the greens, the nuts, the cheese) and get something delicious!

  3. FoodPorn.net (@foodpornonline)

    Hi Susan πŸ˜€
    Thank you for posting the kale pesto recipe.
    I’ve been looking for this recipe since forever! LOL. πŸ˜€
    I’d like to invite you to submit the pictures of your kale pesto to Food Photography so other chefs can make the same creation. πŸ™‚
    You know it’s fun to make others hungry. πŸ˜€
    Can’t wait for your recipe. πŸ˜€

  4. Pingback: Linguini with Kale Pesto, Tomatoes & Green Beans | The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

  5. Eileen

    I found your website by searching for kale pesto recipes. I have bunches of kale, a pug named Wiggle and a blue kitchen! I will be trying out the recipe this eve. Best, Eileen

    1. Susan

      David – I like your version! I would have never thought of using arugula, but I bet the peppery kick is just what the pesto needs. Thanks for the link back too!

  6. Pingback: The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen's Top 10 Recipes of 2012 - The Girl in the Little Red KitchenThe Girl in the Little Red Kitchen

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