Kale Pesto

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Kale makes a nutrient packed pesto and is readily available year round. Easy recipe for a flavorful nut free kale pesto. This kale pesto recipe makes enough to serve with 1 pound of pasta. You may have a bit leftover, depending on how much pesto you like to use per serving.


  • 4 cups tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Add the garlic to the food processor, and pulse to mince the garlic.
  2. Add the kale, in two batches, to the food processor, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients.
  3. Gradually pour the olive oil into the food processor with the blade running, pureeing until comes to a nice smooth consistency.
  4. Add the pumpkin seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, cheese, and puree until everything has been incorporated. Give it a stir, and puree a bit more to make sure it’s blended together nicely. Add a bit of extra olive oil if the consistency seems thicker than you would like.  


  • You can use pine nuts instead of pumpkin seeds. Pine nuts are a typical ingredient in basil pesto. We use pumpkin seeds as we don’t use nuts due to a food allergy.
  • Gradually add more olive oil if the sauce seems thicker than you would like, after first combining all of the ingredients in the food processor. 
  • I often skip the red pepper flakes, and don’t add extra salt given there is salt in the cheese. 
  • When using leftover kale pesto, take it out of the refrigerator about half an hour before using to bring it closer to room temperature. It will spread or combine with pasta better this way.
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