I’m all about hidden veggie recipes lately. I love adding extra nutrition to everyday meals, especially when the flavors work together so well for an amazingly yummy meal! And this Kale Pesto recipe is perfect for just that. Here’s why I’m obsessed with it:
- It’s creamy, savory, and SO GOOD.
- It can be made in 5 minutes (literally).
- Just throw the ingredients in a food processor, pulse blend, and that’s it!
- Enjoy it fresh on EVERYTHING.
- Or freeze it in mason jars for later.
You guys are going to LOVE this easy pesto recipe!
You’ll Also Love: 5-Minute Healthy Spinach Basil Pesto
Table of Contents
Ingredients for Kale Pesto
Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:
Chopped Kale – Freshly chopped kale leaves work best for kale pesto.
Olive Oil – Using extra virgin olive oil in pesto recipes adds so much flavor! You can use other oils, but the flavor of olive oil really is best for this recipe.
Fresh Basil – The base of pesto recipes everywhere! Fresh basil adds that delicious summery flavor that we all love in pesto. Want even more of it? Feel free to swap out some of the kale for more basil, if desired.
Minced Garlic – Minced garlic is sooooo good in this Kale Pesto recipe. Another substitution option is to use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, instead!
Pine Nuts – Pine nuts are another staple in pesto recipes. I love the earthy flavor that they add! If you don’t have pine nuts on hand, feel free to swap out the same amount of chopped walnuts or almonds.
Parmesan Cheese – The grated parmesan adds a creamy, cheesy texture and flavor that you won’t want to miss! Mozzarella is another great substitution. You can also easily make this pesto vegan by using vegan parmesan, instead!
Lemon Juice – The lemon juice in this recipe brings all of the flavors together and adds a touch of tangy flavor!
Optional: Add a little bit of nutritional yeast (1-3 teaspoons) to this recipe for an extra cheesy flavor and added nutrition!
How to Make Kale Pesto (5-Minute Recipe)
It really doesn’t get any easier than this! Here’s how to make Kale Pesto in just 5 minutes:
- Marinate the kale in olive oil, salt, and pepper (about 20 minutes).
- Pulse blend in a food processor with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, grated parmesan, and lemon juice.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste!
TIP: Blend the pesto into a texture that’s somewhere between finely minced and pureed. You may not want to overly puree your pesto!
Adding Kale Pesto to Pasta
One of the best ways to enjoy Kale Pesto is to add it to pasta! After cooking and draining your pasta, add the kale pesto to the saucepan to warm it up over medium heat. Add the pasta back in, mix, and enjoy!
Pesto can also be enjoyed cold on pasta, sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, as a dip, on toast, or really on anything you like. Pair pesto sauce with tomatoes for a burst of summer flavors!
Storing In the Refrigerator
Kale Pesto sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days!
Can You Freeze Kale Pesto?
Yes, you can freeze Kale Pesto! Simply place it in an airtight container or small mason jar, then store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw it out in the refrigerator the night before.
TIP: You can also freeze Kale Pesto in an ice tray to make pesto ice cubes! Once frozen, place the cubes in an airtight container and thaw out one serving at a time when needed.
Your Questions Answered
Does Kale Make Good Pesto?
Yes! Kale makes some of the best pesto. When blended correctly with the right ingredients, the flavors pair together perfectly!
How do You Fix Bitter Kale in Pesto?
If the kale in your pesto tastes bitter, there’s an easy fix for the future: It’s important to marinate and even lightly massage olive oil, salt, and pepper into the kale before blending with other ingredients. If it’s too late and you need to fix the bitter taste in your already-made kale pesto, simply add more basil, parmesan, and pine nuts (along with a little bit more of the oil) to balance out the taste.
How to Eat Kale Pesto (Recipe Pairings)
- Pesto Goat Cheese Individual Pizzas
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Chicken Tomato Pesto Burrata Pasta
- Baked Spinach Chicken Meatballs
- Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto
- Chicken Pesto Pasta Bake
More Wholesome Kale Recipes
- Skillet Sweet Potato Hash with Kale
- 10-Minute Mediterranean Farro Salad
- Meal Prep Southwest Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Kale Quinoa Curry Salad w/ Roasted Brussel Sprouts
- Spicy Southwest Butternut Squash Casserole
- Roasted Chickpea Fall Salad
Did you make this kale pesto recipe? Be sure to give it a rating below and tag your photos @jar.of.lemons!
Easy Kale Pesto Recipe
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 3/4 cup olive oil (divided)
- salt/pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup pine nuts (or crushed walnuts)
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan (or mozzarella)
- 1/2 medium lemon, juiced
- Toss the kale with 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Set aside and marinate for 20 minutes.
- In a food processor, pulse blend the pine nuts, basil, and garlic.
- Add in the marinated kale, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and parmesan.
- Lightly pulse to create pesto.
- Add more salt and pepper if desired (to taste) and enjoy!
- Blend the pesto into a texture that’s somewhere between finely minced and pureed. You may not want to overly puree your pesto!
- You can freeze Kale Pesto in an ice tray to make pesto ice cubes! Once frozen, place the cubes in an airtight container and thaw out one serving at a time when needed.
- Kale Pesto can be frozen for up to 3 months.