This Kale Pesto recipe swaps the basil leaves for fresh kale to make a healthy and vegan dipping sauce, pasta topping or spread. This is great to make when you have lots of kale to use! This recipe will make about 2 cups of pesto.
Lots of Kale Recipe
Have you ever been stuck with too much kale in your fridge but have no desire to make yet another kale salad? You could use it up in a batch of my Homemade Kale Crackers or if you’d prefer a low-maintenance dish, turn to this Kale Pesto!
Making pesto sauce with kale is a great way to use up your leftover leafy greens while boosting the flavor in other recipes, such as pasta salad, spaghetti (served with kale meatballs), pizza, sandwiches, and more. Traditional pesto sauce is made with basil to give it an herby flavor but when we swap the herbs for leafy greens, it takes on more of a peppery flavor and gives it a nutritional boost!
Kale is a great source of vitamin A, K, and C, magnesium, and calcium. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and can help lower cholesterol. It’s my go-to for lunch and hearty soups but is especially perfect for blending into smoothies and sauces!
What is pesto?
Italian pesto sauce is traditionally made by blending basil, pine nuts, lemon juice, oil, garlic, and parmesan cheese together. The cheesy, herby, and savory sauce is often mixed into pasta but goes well with almost anything! Spread some on a sandwich, serve it as a party dip with bread and vegetables, or drizzle it on a salad or pizza.
Kale pesto ingredients
The ingredients in this kale pesto recipe are all easy to find and budget-friendly. This is what you need:
- Nuts (pine nuts, pistachios, cashews, or almonds – use whatever you have in your kitchen or is on sale)
- Olive oil (I always buy this in bulk)
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
How much kale is in one bunch?
The recipe is made with one bunch of kale, which equals about 6 cups of chopped kale. You should end up with 2 cups of pesto.
How to make kale pesto
This vegan kale pesto recipe couldn’t be easier! The only tool you need is a food processor to blend everything together but a regular blender should work just as well. Here’s how it’s done:
Prepare the kale by chopping it into small pieces and wash it with water. Dry it with a clean kitchen cloth or in a salad spinner.
Place the clean kale and the rest of the pesto ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until you have a smooth sauce. If it’s too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
Either serve the pesto right away or store it for later.
Ways to serve kale pesto
This recipe makes 2 cups of pesto so you should have plenty to serve at the party and enjoy on your own. These are my favorite ways to use kale pesto:
- Stirred into warm pasta noodles or a cold pasta salad.
- As a finishing touch on pizza, lasagna, scrambled eggs, roasted vegetables, or salad.
- Mixed into mashed potatoes.
- As a dip with crackers, tortilla chips and vegetables.
- Spread on Italian sliders, vegetable sandwiches, wraps, or burgers.
- Topped on a bowl of minestrone soup.
- As a topping on grain bowls.
To store: Keep the blended pesto in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You can pour a little olive oil or press a layer of plastic wrap on top to keep it from browning.
To freeze: Pour the pesto into ice cube trays with cover. Freeze until the pesto cubes are solid, then transfer to a freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.
More delicious homemade sauces to try
Pin for later:
- 1 bunch kale chopped
- 1/4 cup nuts use either: pine nuts, pistachios, cashews or almonds
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- pinch pepper
- Chop kale into small pieces and wash. Dry kale as best as you can, I like using my salad spinner for this.
- Place all your ingredients into your food processor. Pulse a few times until pesto texture. If your food processor is not moving, add 2 tablespoons of water.
- Serve over pasta, as a dip or place in the fridge to last a few days (3-4 days).