Kale Walnut Pesto

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Christina Ross
Christina Rosshttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

Traditional basil pesto embodies summer for me; my parents grow basil – amongst other veggies – in their backyard, and every summer my mom makes many batches of fresh pesto from their crop.

Now that we’re in the middle of winter, basil isn’t the prime choice for making pesto… it’s a good thing you can make the crave-able condiment from other greens.

Name:Kale Walnut Pesto
Prep Time15 minutes
Cooking Time5 minutes (toasting walnuts)
Total Time20 minutes
Servings6 servings
Yield1/2 cups

Such as kale!

Kale Walnut Pesto

Yep, that tough-leaved, cool-weather, nutrient-rich, leafy vegetable can be used to make pesto.

I briefly steamed the leaves to soften them a bit, then pulsed them in a food processor with crunchy toasted walnuts, salty Parmesan cheese, pungent garlic, and a touch of rich olive oil until the mixture came together to form this gorgeous green pesto.

Kale Walnut Pesto

I like my pesto on the thicker side, but if you prefer a more drizzle-able consistency, stream in more oil until the desired consistency is reached.

This texture was perfect for the recipe I used the pesto in – which will be posted tomorrow!

Salty, garlicky, not too oily, and with a bit of chew from the kale, this pesto is a delicious winter version of a summer classic.

Kale Walnut Pesto


  • 3 tightly packed cups washed & dried kale leaves (discard stems)
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnut halves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more if you prefer a thinner consistency)
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Toast the Walnuts

Start by toasting the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently for about 2-3 minutes until they become fragrant and slightly golden. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and let them cool.

2. Prep the Kale

Wash the kale leaves thoroughly and remove the tough stems. You can tear or chop the kale into smaller pieces to make it easier to blend.

3. Blend the Pesto

In a food processor, combine the toasted walnuts, kale, grated Parmesan cheese, garlic cloves, and lemon juice.

Pulse the ingredients a few times to start breaking them down.

While the food processor is running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. If it’s too thick, you can add more olive oil.

Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Remember that the Parmesan cheese is already salty, so go easy on the salt at first and adjust as needed.

4. Cook the Pasta

Boil your pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Nutritional Information per Serving

Calories: 140

Total Fat: 14g

Saturated Fat: 2.5g

Trans Fat: 0g

Cholesterol: 5mg

Sodium: 90mg

Total Carbohydrates: 2g

Dietary Fiber: 1g

Sugars: 0g

Protein: 3g

Vitamin D: 0%

Calcium: 5%

Iron: 4%

Potassium: 60mg

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