Wondering what to do with kale pesto? There are so many ways to use this nutrient packed pesto sauce! This post will cover benefits of kale pesto and many ways to use it. Head to our kale pesto recipe for the full details on how to make it; we do include a quick summary in this post.
turn some of these into an FAQ
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.
How long does it keep in the refrigerator?
I have found that kale pesto definitely stays good in the refrigerator for longer than classic basil pesto. Tightly seal leftover pesto in a glass or plastic container and it will be good for 7 to 10 days. Kale is a hardy vegetable which helps the pesto last. By contrast, after a few days in the fridge fresh basil pesto will start turning a darker color and lose its fresh flavor.
Take kale pesto out of the fridge about an hour before using if you think of it. The sauce spreads better when it is at room temperature.
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.
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.
David – I like your version! I would have never thought of using arugula, but I bet the peppery kick is just what the pesto needs. Thanks for the link back too!
Thanks for stopping by, Susan! I’ll be on the lookout for more recipes on your blog.
Cristie | Little Big H
Thanks so much for featuring my recipe. I can’t wait to try some of the others. Xx.
lots of good choices, I like yours!
I love Kale! I’ve never heard of using it for pesto, what a great idea! I’m looking forward to trying some of your recipes! 🙂
Thanks Sara, it is definitely worth trying!
Wow, that’s a whole lot of fun ways to use Kale pesto, the bread rolls stand out for me! Curious to know if we can combine kale and basil and if it affects the taste of the pesto?
Thanks Prateek. I don’t think I’ve tried combining kale and basil in the pesto but I bet it would work nicely. I have mixed in some arugula with this kale pesto and that gives it a nice peppery element.
Elizabeth @ Compass & Fork
I like the idea of Kale pesto and am going to try this. The risotto looks great! And a good way to eat more kale.
Thanks, definitely an easy way to get more kale into the diet.
I make kale pesto all the time because it’s an easy way to make my daughter eats lots of healthy veggies! I’ve never made it with pumpkin seeds and red pepper flakes, which sounds so delicious! Will try it next time. Love having all those other dishes to make with the kale pesto.
Sounds like we have a similar routine with kale pesto!
It’s so easy to make and so many great way to use it. it’s a no-brainer! I always get a giant bag of kale and use it in everything. Now I’ll have to start making pesto with it too.
it’s pretty easy and very handy to have around! Thanks Laura.
Eileen | The Food Avenue
So many delicious looking dishes! I think the lasagna might be my favourite too 🙂
Anna @ shenANNAgans
How super GOOD is kale? Its like one of my favorite green vegetables and so versatile too. I havent turned this leafy green into pesto tho, excellent idea. Especially on fish or protein. Gonna whip up a batch. Yum.
I just had it with swordfish last night so can attest to it working well with seafood!
I like kale and I like pesto – why hadn’t I thought of putting them together before, I should try this.
Kale + pesto are just about two of my favorite things on earth and I’ve never made a pesto from kale before. The roundup of different ways to use the pesto is great, as I usually just stick to pasta, and you gave me some great ideas for uses! Thank you!
glad you found it useful, Jen!
I love that you’ve used toasted pumpkin seeds in this kale pesto! What a great combination of flavors. Not to mention, such great health benefits in both of those ingredients!
Thanks Amanda! If pumpkin seeds have good nutrition that’s good news, we use them a lot!
Leanne | Crumb Top Baking
I love pesto, and kale pesto is particularly hearty and delicious! I hadn’t thought of half of those ways to use it! Thanks for the recipe inspiration!
Thanks Leanne! definitely lots of good ways to use kale pesto.
your recipe inspired me. I tried it with beet greens as they are so high in potassium and I am lacking in it. I too used the pumpkin seeds a they too are high in potassium. thanks
Good to know it works with beet greens, too! I’ll have to keep this in mind when I get beets from our farm share.