Kale Pesto Recipe

If you’re like me, you might have bought a bunch of kale with high ambitions and then wondered- what am I going to do with all this kale?! Kale pesto enters the chat.

Kale Pesto Recipe
Kale Pesto Recipe

Welcome to your new favorite pesto recipe. This recipe has lots of hearty texture, bright flavors and a vibrant color. The whole recipe takes about 10 minutes to come together making it a go-to for a quick, weeknight recipe. I’ve personally never been a huge weekend meal prepper, but this kale pesto recipe is great to make ahead of time on the weekend. That way, when Wednesday rolls around and the desire to not cook and eat Taco Bell is strong- your pesto is ready and you’re already halfway to a tasty dinner.

What does kale pesto taste like

This doesn’t taste like your traditional basil pesto, but it is still delicious. Less aromatic, more peppery, and thanks to generous amounts of salt, lemon and parm- very bright. Blanching the kale is a crucial step to this recipe as it helps remove the green’s natural bitterness.

How to make kale pesto

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Kale – You’ll remove the hard stems and use the leaves and tender stems. You can save the stems and freeze them to make a veggie stock, blend up in a smoothie or a simple saute with your favorite seasonings. For this recipe I use curly kale but you could use Tuscan or other varieties.
  • Lemon – for brightness and to blend
  • Walnuts – adds texture and body. Pine nuts are traditionally used for pesto, but I opt for the cheaper and still equally tasty walnut. (Pine nuts- in this economy!?) 
  • Garlic – makes it tasty of course
  • Parmesan cheese – makes it savory and delicious (because cheese). You could swap out for nutritional yeast and make this a vegan kale pesto.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – adds fatty richness and adds moisture to bring the pesto together.
  • Salt and pepper – seasoning to make all the flavors pop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Kale Pesto Be Frozen for Long-Term Storage, and If So, What Is the Best Method for Freezing and Thawing It?

Readers often wonder about the feasibility of freezing kale pesto to extend its shelf life. Freezing kale pesto is indeed possible and can help preserve its freshness for longer periods. The best method for freezing kale pesto involves transferring it to airtight containers or ice cube trays, ensuring minimal exposure to air to prevent freezer burn. When thawing, it’s recommended to place the frozen pesto in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours to gradually thaw it. Avoid using a microwave for thawing, as it can compromise the texture and flavor of the pesto.

Are There Any Recommended Variations or Substitutions for Ingredients in the Kale Pesto Recipe to Accommodate Dietary Restrictions or Personal Preferences?

Readers often seek flexibility in recipes to accommodate dietary restrictions or to tailor them to their taste preferences. In the case of kale pesto, there are several variations and substitutions that can be made. For example, individuals can experiment with different nuts such as almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts instead of the traditional pine nuts. Additionally, for those with dairy allergies or following a vegan diet, nutritional yeast can be used as a substitute for Parmesan cheese to impart a similar umami flavor. Adjusting the quantities of garlic, lemon juice, or olive oil can also allow for customization according to personal taste preferences.

How Long Can Kale Pesto Be Kept in the Refrigerator, and What Are the Signs That It Has Spoiled or Gone Bad?

Understanding the storage duration and signs of spoilage is important for maintaining food safety and quality. Kale pesto can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days, provided it is stored in an airtight container to minimize exposure to air and moisture. Signs that kale pesto has spoiled or gone bad include changes in color, texture, or odor. If the pesto develops a slimy or discolored appearance, or if it emits an off-putting odor, it is best to discard it to avoid the risk of foodborne illness. Regularly inspecting stored pesto and practicing proper storage techniques can help ensure its freshness and safety for consumption.

This recipe comes together in minutes! Here’s how to make it happen:

First, boil a pot of generously salted water over high heat. Once that’s boiling, carefully add your kale leaves and cook. After roughly 1 minute, use tongs to remove them from the water and throw them in your blender. At this point, I recommend saving 1 cup of the hot cooking liquid in case your pesto is chunky and needs a little extra love to make it smooth.

Next, you add all the other ingredients to the blender- lemon juice, walnuts, garlic, parm, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend that goodness up, adding the hot cooking liquid if you need it. Then taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

We could see this working very well with a Ground Turkey Pasta recipe!

How long does kale pesto last

If you aren’t consuming your pesto immediately, be sure to store it in an airtight container in your fridge. I’d recommend drizzling a little olive oil on top to keep it vibrant. It lasts up to four days. Kale pesto also freezes very well.

Looking for a treat to compliment this? Try this sugar free cheesecake

Kale Pesto Recipe

Kale Pesto Recipe

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
This vibrant kale pesto recipe comes together quickly and is delicious on pasta, roasted veggies, sandwiches, and more.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 285 kcal


  • 1 Large Pot
  • 1 Set of tongs
  • 1 Blender


  • 1 Small bunch kale
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 juice lemon
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 salt and pepper to taste

Recipe Instructions

  • Kale Pesto Recipe
    Place a large pot of generously salted water over high heat. Bring to a boil and add kale leaves. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Kale Pesto Recipe
    Using tongs, remove kale leaves from boiling water and place in blender. Save roughly 1 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Kale Pesto Recipe
    Next, add garlic, lemon juice, walnuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper to the blender and process until smooth. (Use reserved cooking liquid if needed to smooth it out).
  • Kale Pesto Recipe
    Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.


This Kale Pesto Recipe works great as a Kale Pesto Pasta, or as a condiment on this Scrambled Egg Sandwich!


Calories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 7gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 237mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 3358IUVitamin C: 32mgCalcium: 214mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Kale Basil Pesto, Kale Pesto, Kale Pesto Recipe, Kale Walnut Pesto, Pesto, Vegan Kale Pesto
Tried this recipe?Mention @thembitesrecipes or tag #thembites

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