Kale Pesto

To prep the kale, rinse and pat dry, strip out or cut out the tough inner stem and discard, chop the leaves enough so you can easily measure.

To toast almonds, heat them in a single layer in a small sauté pan on medium high to high heat, stirring occasionally. When the almonds begin to brown remove to a bowl to cool. The whole process only takes a couple of minutes, so keep an eye on them! They can go from lightly toasted to burned quickly.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Makes about 1 1/4 cups


  • 3 cups (packed, 85 g) chopped fresh kale
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) toasted, blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) grated or shredded Parmesan
  • Zest of one lemon (about a teaspoon)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (less or more to taste), minced
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper


1 Pulse kale and almonds: Place the chopped fresh kale and toasted almonds in a food processor and pulse several seconds.

2 Add Parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, and pulse again several times. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the food processor and pulse again.

3 Drizzle in olive oil: With the food processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil.

4 Stir in lemon juice, salt, pepper: Remove to a storage container, stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper, adjusting amounts to taste.

Use mixed in with pasta or rice or as a topping for chicken, beef, or seafood.

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  • Pat Beck

    Good- great way to use abundance of greens and versatile.

  • Brittnee

    Can this pesto be frozen?


    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Brittnee, I haven’t tried freezing this pesto but pesto in general freezes pretty well, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t freeze well.

  • Sherri

    At a time when my Kale from last years planting is bolting and I’m desperate to find ways to use it before it gets bitter and woody, this recipe is a life saver. I was thinking that I might have to add fresh herbs to give it some flavour, but tried it as per the recipe first (the plan was to do a number of batches and freeze it if it was good…. well.. it is fantastic just as it is. I was heavier on the garlic (1 extra clove) and it is perfect. You’ve saved the day!

    • Elise Bauer

      Thanks Sherri, I’m so glad you like the kale pesto! I think it’s a great way to use up kale, and since it’s sturdier than basil it holds its color longer and lasts longer in the fridge.

  • Steph

    Just received two giant bunches of kale from a friend’s garden. Made three batches of pesto and it came out fantastic. Going to have some tonight with pasta. I always like to finish it with a bit of butter before serving a la Marcella. Thank you Elise. You always come through for me with the recipes. You are amazing.


  • Renee Mills

    This sounds wonderfully delicious! Whenever I buy kale, I buy a lot. Looking forward to making this next time!

  • Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today

    I am happy to try any new recipe including kale :)

  • Malika A. Black

    I love basil pesto and I make many variations of it. Usually by replacing a portion of the basil with spinach, parsley or cilantro, even avocado.
    But I never thought about using kale! This is a great idea. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Manju



  • Sara @ Last Night's Feast

    I’ve never tried to make kale pesto before, but your recipe looks like a good one! Definitely trying this now

  • Liz

    This is perfect for the extra bunch of kale that I have sitting in my fridge right now! Looooove pesto so I’m going to give this a try

  • Rachel

    Since I don’t like basil, I’ve never liked pesto. This recipe looks perfect for me to try!

  • Licia

    I’m going to the store today to get my kale and try the recipe! It looks delicious and your recipes are always wonderful

  • Jen

    looks delicious! can’t wait to try..will it work to use a VItamix instead of processor? Mine broke!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jen, my guess is that it will work in a Vitamix, that’s a strong blender! Though you might want to chop up the kale a bit more finely before you add it to the Vitamix.

  • Sarah

    This looks fantastic!! Does kale pesto freeze okay?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, I haven’t tried freezing this pesto, though I don’t see why it wouldn’t freeze as well as regular basil pesto.

  • Megan at Lush to Blush

    Yummm! This sounds so delish!

  • jjmcgaffey

    I usually make my pesto with spinach – fresh or frozen – and basil, and often other herbs (parsley, oregano…). I’ve never tried kale. Chopped fine enough, it isn’t tough? I’ve found it so when I didn’t cook it enough. Though there may be different varieties of kale.