Kale Pesto


Kale: It’s what’s for dinner.

Somewhere over the last year, I developed a deep love for kale. Yep, I’m one of those strange people that actually truly enjoys kale and I even prefer it to spinach. I eat it in salads, stir-fry, pasta dishes, soups, scrambled eggs, and I get kind of anxious when I don’t have any in the house. I love curly kale because there is so much surface area to the leaves and it’s one of the cheapest greens you can buy, averaging around $0.99 per pound. It’s much more substantial than spinach and doesn’t wilt into a slimy pile of nothing when you cook it. Kale can be bitter sometimes, but every now and then I’ll get a really good bunch that is sweet and full of flavor.

Today I somehow found myself with four bags of kale crammed into the back of the fridge… oops. I had seen recipes for kale pesto and today seemed like the perfect time to make it. I’m a huge fan of traditional basil pesto so I of course had to try out a pesto recipe using my favorite green.

I was concerned this pesto would be lacking in flavor since kale isn’t as fragrant as basil, but I was wrong. The kale gives a sweet, mellow flavor and the combination of almonds, parmesan cheese, and garlic doesn’t hurt, either. You can still include some basil in this recipe if you think you’ll miss the flavor. Incorporating kale into your pesto will make it go a long way and will save you money as well. Win-win!


Kale Pesto
makes roughly 1 cup


  • 1 large bunch/6-8 stalks kale, leaves torn into pieces and stems discarded
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted (to toast raw almonds, see directions below)
  • 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 green onions or 2 Tbsp chopped shallots
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil or small handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)



  1. Fill a 3-4 quart pot halfway full with water and bring to a boil. Add kale and cook for 1-2 minutes, until kale turns bright green and is slightly tender to the touch. Drain in the sink and let cool.
  2. To toast your almonds, lightly spray a small frying pan with cooking spray and turn onto low-medium heat. Add your almonds and let them toast for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until they are light brown.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. You may need to do this in batches if your food processor is on the smaller side, especially because kale takes up so much space. Season with salt to taste and enjoy on pasta, sandwiches, and more!
Bring water in a large pot to boil and cook kale for 1-2 minutes until bright green and slightly tender. Drain and let cool.
Toast your almonds in a small, greased frying pan if they are not already toasted. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often, until light brown.
Combine all ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth.
Season with salt to taste and enjoy 🙂
Mmm 🙂


7 Comments Add yours

  1. Cindy says:

    I have to make this!! I can just imagine how good that taste 😀

    1. hp11260 says:

      It was surprisingly delicious and tastes even better after a day or two!

  2. mpstorer88 says:

    I’ve been wondering how to get some Kale in my life! (and cheese 😉 )
    Thanks Hannah 😀

    1. hp11260 says:

      This recipe is a great way to incorporate kale into your diet, and cheese just makes everything better 🙂

  3. I love Kale Pesto and have a little different version of this on my blog.

  4. Cara says:

    I just made your recipe and it is AMAZING! I will never make another ever again – keep cooking 🙂

    1. hp11260 says:

      Wow, thank you! It makes me so happy to hear that 🙂

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