Pesto doesn't have to be just basil! This kale pesto will add extra healthy greens and lots of flavor to any dish from pasta to soups.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure policy here.
We found ourselves with a TON of kale in the garden. Up to our elbows. So what to do with it? Make pesto of course! Yes, you can make pesto with kale.
We realized we had a different kind of kale on our hands. BIG leaves, sort of silver-green, thick stems, so different from what you typically get in the store. We were a little afraid to eat it at first, was it really kale? Are we gonna die if we eat it? Somebody call Black Forager.
After a bit of research, we discovered we had Siberian kale. Its leaves are truly lovely, softer than most varieties I usually see in the market, with a slightly peppery taste like arugula.
Try kale pesto - made with kale of any kind - when you want to amp up the greens in a dish without adding more volume to it. And so easy to make! Zip it in the food processor and you're done.
- Kale: You can use any kind of kale for this recipe. I used Siberian kale because it's what we had in the garden, but it's not readily found in grocery stores.
- Fresh basil: You can still add a bit of basil to this if you have some on hand, but it's not required.
- Parmesan cheese: Please use the real parmigiano reggiano for this recipe. The flavor is noticeable and makes all the difference.
- Garlic: You can adjust the garlic to your taste level. Just remember it is raw so it will have a bright and pungent flavor!
- Pine nuts: Pine nuts are the classic pesto choice, but you can substitute almonds or walnuts or even hazelnuts. Use what you have!
- Salt and olive oil: The amount of these two may vary slightly, depending on your taste and whether or not you cook the kale.
Use a good chef's knife to chop the kale.
Place the pine nuts (or whatever type of nuts you're using) in a small skillet over medium heat and toast gently until fragrant.
At this point, you can add the kale to a large skillet over medium heat and quickly wilt it. You could also make the pesto with raw kale.
If you choose to cook it, once it's done, wrap it in a kitchen towel and wring out the water.
Turn the food processor on and begin to drizzle the olive oil into the mixture until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
How do you store kale pesto?
Store in the fridge in an airtight container with a layer of olive oil on top to preserve the green color. It will keep for at least 5 days.
Can you freeze kale pesto?
Yes! You can freeze kale pesto - or any kind of pesto - for 6 months or more. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays, then transfer to a zip top bag, so you can just pop a cube or two into soups and sauces all year long.Get your green on and save it for a rainy day.
What can you use kale pesto for?
Use kale pesto anywhere you would use regular pesto - pasta, soups, spread on sandwiches, the possibilities are endless!
- Try kale pesto on top of Soupe au Pistou.
- Substitute it for basil pesto in this recipe for Gnocchi with Peas and Pesto.
- Kale Pizza with Bacon and Caramelized Onions is another way to use kale and makes comfort food seem slightly healthy.
- 4-5 cups kale roughly chopped
- handful fresh basil optional
- 1-2 cloves garlic depending upon your taste
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup olive oil
- pinch kosher salt
- Place the pine nuts (or whatever type of nuts you're using) in a small skillet over medium heat and toast gently until fragrant.
- At this point, you can add the kale to a large skillet over medium heat and quickly wilt it. You could also make the pesto with raw kale. If you choose to cook it, once it's done, wrap it in a kitchen towel and wring out the water.
- Add the kale, pine nuts, and parmesan to a food processor with a pinch of kosher salt. Use a microplane grater to grate the garlic directly into the food processor. Turn the food processor on and begin to drizzle the olive oil into the mixture until you reach the desired consistency. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.