Kale Pesto Recipe

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Kale pesto is quick and easy to make. Five ingredients, plus salt and pepper, are all you need. Kale pesto is not only delicious but it’s also a great way to serve and preserve kale.


Kale is pretty easy for us to grow here in central NC (growing zone 7b). I can plant it very early in the season (February) and it will produce all spring and into early summer. When it gets too hot, it stops producing and just stays there in the garden, patiently waiting for fall.

When the temperatures cool down, the same kale plants that I planted in the spring, will come back to life and start producing again. I don’t have to replant my kale plants. I love it! It saves me so much work and you can see how I can easily end up with a whole lot of kale during the growing season.

Kale Pesto Recipe…

a jar with kale pesto

For some reason, I can’t sell a whole lot of fresh kale at our local farmer’s market. People won’t buy a lot of it fresh, however, they’ll consume all the kale pesto that I can give them. So I usually make a whole lot of kale pesto every year, some for us and some for the great people of this small town!

kale and other ingredients for kale pesto

Ingredients…

  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Almond flour or 1/2 cup of nuts of your choice (more on this below)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil

Kitchen Tools…

How to Make Kale Pesto…

adding all of the ingredients to the bowl of the food processor

Step one – add ingredients to the processor. Add the kale, garlic, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, almond flour (or nuts of your choice), and a little bit of olive oil to the food processor. Turn the food processor on and as it’s working add more oil until the paste reaches your desired consistency.

Step two – correct seasonings and process. Stop the food processor and open the lid. With a spoon, scrape the sides and bottom of the food processor. This is a great time to taste your pesto and correct seasonings, it is also a great time to measure the consistency of the pesto. Close the food processor and turn it on again. If you feel like your pesto is too thick, this is the time to add a little bit more oil.

store kale pesto in a jar

How to Store Kale Pesto…

  • In the fridge – once your pesto is ready, transfer it to a plastic container or a jar and store in the fridge. It should stay green and fresh and beautiful for a few weeks in the fridge. 
  • In the freezer – transfer your kale pesto to a freezer container and freeze. Some people like to scoop a couple of tablespoons into an ice cube tray, freeze, and then store the pesto cubes in a zip-lock bag. If you do it this way, you can thaw one block at a time. Kale pesto should last in the freezer for at least a year.   

How to Serve Kale Pesto…

  • As a spread – we often spread it on homemade bread, or on crackers. Add a slice of homemade feta cheese or raw milk goat cheese on top of it, a slice of tomato and you have yourself the best breakfast ever. 
  • As a pizza topping – I often use it to make pesto pizza. Make your own pizza dough, spread the pesto on it instead of tomato sauce, crumble your favorite cheese on it, and add your toppings. Then bake to perfection and enjoy. I venture out and say that I’ll take this kind of pizza over any tomato pizza any day!
  • As sauce – kale pesto goes really well with almost any fish dish. If you fry your fish, add it on top when serving as a sauce. If you bake your fish, spread it on your fish before placing it in the oven. Or, you can also grill your fish.. try this recipe.
  • As pasta sauce – another idea is using it as a pasta sauce. You can add it as seasonings to an Alfredo sauce to make something like an Alfredo pesto sauce or just use it right on top of pasta as it is. Seasoning a cold pasta salad with it is another idea. 
cilantro pesto in a glass serving dish

Frequently Asked Questions…

What other nuts I can use?

I love using almonds in my pesto recipes simply because almonds are affordable and delicious. However, feel free to use any kind of nuts. Pine nuts will work well, walnuts work too, and cashews can work… Try something different each time. You can also mix a couple of different kinds of nuts.

Can I replace the Parmesan with another cheese?

Sometimes I replace the Parmesan with Asiago cheese. Any hard cheese should work.

Does kale pesto oxidize?

No, it doesn’t. Kale pesto doesn’t oxidize like basil pesto. Even when you leave it exposed to air it stays green and doesn’t turn brown.

Can I double or triple this recipe?

Definitely! This recipe makes about a pint of pesto. Feel free to double or triple it if your food processor is large and strong enough to handle it.


So there you have it! Another pesto recipe added to the collection of pesto recipes that I have here on the blog (links to all the others below). You can sense how much I love pesto. Not only because it’s tasty and I can serve it many different ways, but also because I consider it a great way to preserve greens. I hope you’ll give it a try!

More Pesto Recipes…

More Delicious Recipes…

Kale Pesto Recipe

Kale Pesto Recipe

Yield: One pint
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Processing Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Quick and easy to make kale pesto recipe.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz (or so) of kale leaves (remove stems)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or other nuts, more in the notes below)
  • 1 cup of olive oil (more or less, depending on your desired consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Add the kale, garlic, Parmesan cheese, almond flour (or nuts of your choice), salt and pepper, and a little bit of olive oil (about 1/4 of a cup) to the food processor. Turn the food processor on and as it’s working add more oil until the paste reaches your desired consistency.
  2. Stop the food processor and open the lid. With a spoon, scrape the sides and bottom of the food processor. This is a great time to taste your pesto and correct seasonings, it is also a great time to test the consistency of the pesto. Close the food processor and turn it on again. If you feel like your pesto is too thick, this is the time to add a little bit more oil.
  3. Transfer to jars and store in the fridge or freeze.

Notes

Frequently Asked Questions...

  • What other nuts I can use?
    I love using almonds in my pesto recipes simply because almonds are affordable and delicious. However, feel free to use any kind of nuts. Pine nuts will work well, walnuts work too, and cashews can work… Try something different each time. You can also mix a couple of different kinds of nuts.
  • Can I replace the Parmesan with another cheese?
    Sometimes I replace the Parmesan with Asiago cheese. Any hard cheese should work.
  • Does kale pesto oxidize?
    No, it doesn’t. Kale pesto doesn’t oxidize like basil pesto. Even when you leave it exposed to air it stays green and doesn’t turn brown.
  • Can I double or triple this recipe?
    Definitely! This recipe makes about a pint of pesto. Feel free to double or triple it if your food processor is large and strong enough to handle it.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 32 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 86Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 69mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

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