Kale Pesto

It’s spring! The magnoilas and cherry blossoms are bustin’ out here in Vancouver, and the tulips and daffodils are also showing their blooms.

But I am running out of pesto. Every year, in the late spring/early summer, I head out to the Farmer’s Market for garlic scapes, and make a big batch of pesto. I then freeze it, and portion it out during the winter. But I am running out, and garlic scape season is still a couple months away.

Kale Pesto

Kale, however, is in abundance right now, and makes a good substitute. A head of kale yielded a 500ml mason jar of the stuff. This should keep me going for the next couple of months.

I love pesto because you can use it so spice up everything. Traditionally, you’d throw a couple tablespoons in with some cooked pasta, and toss that up, adding in freshly ground pepper, a nice grated hard cheese like parmesan, padano or even asiago, and an extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (maybe even the flavoured kind?). I like it beat into my scrambled eggs, and I added a heaping tablespoon to a quiche I made for dinner the other night.

kale pesto pasta

It also makes a great sauce for fish, like a lightly seared salmon, or even heartier meats, like a steak.

I also often add it to any pasta sauce I’m making–tomato- or cream-based. And soups!

It’s basically a multi-purpose, kick-it-up-to-awesome, go-with-anything kinda condiment.

Kale Pesto

kale pesto ingredients


  • One bunch kale, stems removed, washed and spun dry
  • 1/4 cup nuts, dry-toasted in a frying pan (I used almonds, but you could use pine nuts (traditionally) or walnuts)
  • 1-3 cloves garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tbsps lemon juice
  • about 1/2 cup olive oil


  1. In your blender, place the nuts and pulse until they are evenly ground. Next, add the garlic and do the same.
  2. Pack the kale into the blender and blend it well, scraping down the sides of the blender if necessary to get an even grind.
  3. Add the lemon juice and grind some more. With the motor running, pour the olive oil slowly in through the top. You want the final consistency to be grainy, and not too oily. You can add more oil if need be, I like to add my at the time of cooking, though.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and grind one last time.
  5. Some pesto recipes call for the addition of cheese. I love cheese, but I prefer not to add it until I use the pesto, grating the cheese freshly into the dish. Store in the refrigerator, or freeze in ice cube trays until ready to use.

UPDATE: the blogger at Gusto TV made this, and here is her (amusing) post.

6 thoughts on “Kale Pesto”

  • Tried this today and we loved it but I did make a few adjustments to suit our palates. One problem I ran into was that the kale was hard to break down. Ended up adding some water to help it along but it didn’t affect the finished product at all. Do yourself a favour and break the kale into small pieces. Great recipes Rebecca. Thanks!

    • So glad to hear you tried it! Be sure to removed the kale leaves from the tougher stems–that should help. I didn’t have any problems breaking it down, but I did just get a new, very powerful blender. Not much gives me trouble with that baby!

Leave a Reply