Kale Pesto

I realize I have posted quite a few recipes in my short time blogging featuring kale. I didn’t realize I love it so much, but I guess its so versatile that this veggie is like a gift that just keeps on giving!

A few nights ago I wanted to make a pasta but do something fun with it so I decided to make kale pesto for the sauce. It came out so delicious! Instead of pine nuts I used cashews which totally worked well to make the sauce creamy, and the addition of lemon really adds a nice summery flavor. This is super quick to whip up and I bet it would be great to store. Next time I might make more so I can do that.

We paired our pesto with penne and added some slightly cooked grape tomatoes and a little bit of mozzarella cheese on top. This is on the list of go-to sauces to make again and again!


I start by getting the main ingredients ready which is the kale and a little bit of fresh basil. I have taken so many pictures of kale for this blog!!


I put the juice and zest of one lemon, the cashews, and the garlic in the food processor and grind it up.


Then I add the kale and basil. It looks so healthy before the EVOO!


I add parmesan cheese, spices, and a little bit of water before streaming in the olive oil. I had to adjust quite a bit here, adding quite a bit more black pepper, a little bit of sugar, and some more lemon juice. In the end, it tasted amazing when mixed with pasta and tomatoes.


Prep + Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: Makes about 3 cups of sauce


  • 4 cups kale, de-stemmed and ripped into pieces
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • Juice of 1 lemon and zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or more fresh lemon if you have it!)
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Salt to taste (add as much as you want-maybe three or four pinches)
  • Pepper to taste (I did about 10 turns of our pepper shaker, but I love black pepper)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Crushed red pepper (I added about a teaspoon but you can take this out)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


  1. Put the cashews, garlic, juice from the lemon and lemon zest in the food processor and grind.
  2. Add in the kale in small batches along with the basil and continuously pulse until its finely chopped.
  3. Add water, parmesan cheese, and all of the spices and blend.
  4. Stream in olive oil slowly as the mixture is blending. Stop when its a sauce-like consistency.
  5. Taste and add more seasonings accordingly! I adjusted a lot for the final numbers above.

15 thoughts on “Kale Pesto

    • Sudipti says:

      Haha! Someone else just posted a comment about that too. I haven’t tried Zoodles but I think I have to – sounds like its a way to make this dish so much healthier.


  1. il Teo says:

    I’ve done the same with kale and rocket! Absolutely delicious! And yes, you can keep it in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks (I just finished the jar I prepared two weeks ago and it tasted wonderfully)

    Liked by 1 person

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