Benefits of Kale Pesto
As you may well know, kale is a dark green leafy green vegetable loaded with nutrients. Using kale to make pesto instead of the traditional basil packs serious nutrition into this no cook sauce. In addition, you can usually find good kale year-round in grocery stores around here, meaning this pesto is always an option. By contrast, I typically only make traditional basil pesto in the summer when fresh basil is rolling in.
What Does Kale Pesto Taste Like?
I realize I need to do more the extoll the nutritional benefits of kale pesto! Some ready may be wondering what kale pesto tastes like. I’d say my pesto with kale tastes fairly similar to traditional basil pesto– fresh and flavorful. I would say the way I prepare kale pesto gives it a bit more bit than basil pesto. People that rave about my basil pesto say they like the kale pesto as much if note more. Bottom line, if you like basil pesto you will probably like kale pesto, too.
Ways to Use Kale Pesto
You can simply toss kale pesto with pasta for a simple meal, but there are so many other ways you can use it. We are going to cover some of our favorites next, and would love to hear how you use it. Speaking of using kale pesto, I should note that kale pesto will keep for about 5 to 7 days, refrigerated in a tightly sealed container. That said, this pesto is at its best when you first whip up the batch, so I usually try to use at least some of it the day I make it.
Let’s start with a simple way to use kale pesto. In this Linguine recipe , we toss our pesto with hot linguine, and top it with some tomatoes for an easy meal.
A slight variation on the basic kale pesto with pasta theme is this Ziti with Pesto and Roasted Broccoli. The roasted broccoli adds some delicious earthiness to the dish, and was further enhanced paired with an interesting Italian white wine.
For a lower carb version of kale pesto with pasta, Veggie Inspired Journey brings you Pesto Spaghetti Squash.
I also love tossing kale pesto with tortellini, as I do here.
Kale pesto can also be tossed with orzo and veggies for a salad that is great for bringing to cookouts or picnics.
Trying serving one of these pasta dishes with these Pesto Bread Rolls from Little Big H. I am loving the looks of these!
I also love spreading kale pesto on toasted bread in these delicious Pesto Crostini.
Another tasty appetizer idea is this kale pesto dip recipe.
Perhaps my favorite use of this pesto is making this delicious lasagna. OK, a bit more decadent than the other recipes here, but more nutrition that traditional lasagna!
How about some pesto with kale to flavor up some soup? Simple potato soup gets a tasty lift from pesto here.
Another great, healthy way to use our pesto is top some seafood with kale pesto. We just recently made this Tilapia with very good results.
And with grilling season rolling in, I’ll be sure to make this Swordfish with our healthy pesto again soon!
That grilled swordfish with pesto is good on its own, but also combines nicely with orzo in this seafood pasta dish.
Speaking of grilling season, how about trying some Grilled Corn on the Cob with Kale Pesto? Delicious idea from Patricia at Grab a Plate.
Another recent tasty use of our pesto is this risotto using Tuscan kale, for a vegetarian main course or substantial side dish.
Wine Pairings for Kale Pesto
What wine to pair with kale pesto? It depends on how you are serving it. Most of the recipe links above contain some good wine pairing tips for the particular recipe. If you are having a basic kale pesto tossed with pasta, you might go with Sauvignon Blanc, a classic pairing for traditional basil pesto. But I’ve had a number of other wines that works well with basic kale pesto pasta. Recently we opened a bottle of 2015 Chave Circa Saint-Joseph (appx $30, 14% ABV), with a taste of peach fruit and honey, this is a very nice bottle that enhances the kale pesto meal.
Kale Pesto Recipe and Variations
The original recipe I posted called for 1 cup of arugula along with 3 cups of kale. It also used walnuts and pine nuts instead of the pumpkin seed. Since then, we have switched from nuts to pumpkin seeds to make our kale pesto with no nuts, due to a food allergy. If you don’t have a problem with nuts you can certainly use them instead of the pumpkin seeds. If I have arugula on hand, I will sometimes add it, but using all kale for the greens is often easier.
- 4 cups tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- generous pinch red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add the kale and garlic to a food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cheese, and olive oil, and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. You have kale pesto ready to use!
Tools to use: A food processor is an essential tool for making this pesto! Providing the Amazon affiliate link to the brand that has served us well for many batches of pesto, which means I would earn a modest commission if you choose to purchase using the link below.