Kale Pesto

I absolutely love pesto. The fresh herbs, the olive oil and Parmesan cheese goodness! It is just so fresh tasting and so simple in flavor. Plus, is there any herb better than basil?  I can just never bring myself to use practically my entire basil plant in just one recipe I just don’t have the patience for my basil plant to grow back. So, I have never made pesto.

So,  you can imagine I was super excited when I came across this recipe for Kale Pesto. I figured it was too good to be true, so I gave it a whirl.

I am constantly buying Kale, because I know how good it is for me and I want to eat it, but then I can never think of awesome things to use it for. It is just one thing I haven’t gotten too experimental with. I tried a green smoothie with it once, oh no, NEVER again! One secret I have found is that it needs to be cooked and/or combined with an acid to bring out its best flavor. Then, of course it always comes in large quantities, so I need to think of ways to start using it. I think I found a pretty good one!

Was there anything that Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and lemon ever made taste bad?

I chose to use walnuts as my ‘nut of choice’ but pesto is traditionally be made with pine nuts.

I also poached a chicken breast and shredded it into the pasta, but this can easily be enjoyed without.

Kale Pesto

Adapted from acozykitchen

3-4 cups loosely chopped kale

2 handfuls of basil (about 1 cup)

1 garlic clove, roasted if desired

2 TBS lemon juice or one small lemon

1/3 cup walnuts (or other nut you have on hand)

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt, Pepper, or red pepper flakes (for some heat)


Chopping Kale,  discarding the thick stems.  Heat a pan over low-med heat to toast walnuts.  Bring a salted stock pot of water to boil. When the water is boiling put in the kale for about 4 minutes. Then drain it in a colander until it you are able to handle it.

Squeeze the liquid out using paper towels or a salad spinner.  If you are sensitive to garlic like I am, I highly suggest sauteing the garlic at this time on the stove rather than placing a whole raw clove in to the processor. Place walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and lemon in a food processor and process until combined.  Once these ingredients are blended add the kale, and process until it resembles an herb paste. Add more olive oil if it is clumpy.

Spoon over pasta and mix if you are using it immediately (can also be thinned with reserved pasta water) or store in the fridge for several days to use later in the week, or you may freeze it in small batches for a quick meal.


One thought on “Kale Pesto

  1. Pingback: Kale Kale Everywhere | cookingforthelove

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