Kale Pesto Recipe


  • 2-3 cups packed kale: Use curly kale or lacinato (dinosaur) kale, stems removed.
  • 1/2 cup nuts: Walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, or pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – toasted for best flavor.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated is best. For a vegan version, use 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast.
  • 2-3 garlic cloves: Adjust to your preference.
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil: Plus more as needed.
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice: (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt: Or to taste.
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper: Or to taste.


  • Toast the nuts (if not pre-toasted): Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add nuts and toast, stirring frequently, until fragrant and lightly browned (about 2-3 minutes).
  • Prep the kale: Wash and thoroughly dry the kale leaves. Roughly chop to make blending easier.
  • Blend the base: Combine the toasted nuts, garlic, Parmesan (or nutritional yeast), salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add kale and lemon juice: Add the kale and lemon juice to the food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  • Drizzle and blend: With the food processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Continue processing until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. You may need to scrape down the sides occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust: Give your pesto a taste. Add more salt, pepper, lemon juice, or Parmesan/nutritional yeast to your liking. If needed, add a little more olive oil for a smoother consistency.


  • Storage: Store leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays for easy portions.
  • Uses: Kale pesto adds fabulous flavor to pasta, pizza, sandwiches, roasted vegetables, eggs, as a dip, and more!


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