Kale Walnut Pesto

February 16, 2015

Kale Walnut Pesto

Last week I posted two recipes with kale pesto (this one and this one).
Though you guys seemed to have liked ‘em both, I had the feeling - through your comments on the blog, FB, IG and Twitter - that you were more interested in the kale pesto than the recipes themselves.
So yesterday I was like “Uhm, maybe I should post just the recipe for the kale pesto. If the readers want just to print/save the kale pesto they should. It totally makes sense!
I know, I’m smart as a whip (Ha!)


Fact is, I already have a recipe for kale pesto on the blog. It’s made with toasted pistachio though. I love it, but lately I prefer this version with walnuts. I don’t why, there’s something to it that I find more delectable.
Maybe you can try both versions and report back. Mmmkay?

Kale Pesto

Anyways, here is the Kale Walnut Pesto, in all of its glory.
Can I just say that it’s really awesome?
It’s like a nutrient-packed alternative to regular basil pesto.
It’s delish right out of the jar as a healthy dip for snacking or as a spread on sandwiches, but also tossed with pasta (you have to try it with zoodles!) or layered in a lasagna for a quick and healthy meal.
You can also blend it into a dressing and toss with green salad, or top with chicken, vegetables, and stretchy cheese.
There are endless uses for this awesome sauce!

Kale Walnut Pesto                                                                                                    Print this recipe!

Yields about 1 cup of pesto

1 bunch of kale (roughly ½ lb / 226 gr), de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
⅓ cup walnuts
juice of ½ lemon
2 tablespoons Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Romano cheese, grated
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup / 60 ml cooking water, plus more if needed


Bring a heavily salted pot of water to a roiling boil. Add garlic and kale (making sure to submerge it in the water) and blanch for 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon fish the kale and the garlic out of the water and transfer to a colander. Allow to cool slightly and using the back of a spoon (or your hands if you dare) squeeze out some of the water.
In a food processor add walnuts and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the blanched kale, garlic and lemon juice. Pulse until the kale is broken up and nearly smooth. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides. Add Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese and red pepper flakes (if using). Pulse again and while the food processor is running slowly add the water - one tablespoon at a time - until the pesto reaches a creamy consistency. You might need to use less or more water depending on the quality of the kale used.
Transfer kale pesto to a bowl and using a spoon stir in the olive oil until it’s completely absorbed.
If the kale pesto looks too thick, add more water (not oil) one tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency.
If not using straight away, store the pesto in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator. It will keep for 1 - 2 weeks. It's important to cover the pesto with a tiny layer of olive oil on top, it will prevent the oxidation.

Nutrition facts

1 cup yields 685 calories, 66 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs, and 15 grams of protein.


  1. Duuuude - I see Kale pesto smothered beets in my crystal ball!!! Oh heck yeah!

    1. No, no, no. not my kale pesto on beets. Not in a million years! ;)

  2. Yum. Thinking this would be a great alternative for tomato sauce on bruschetta. Will have to give it a try.

  3. Yay! I love pesto and I can only imagine it would be so much better using walnuts and kale. So healthy and so delish! I need to try this! x

  4. Hi Mike, love the color of this pesto, thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  5. I love pesto and could eat giant dollops of it anywhere! This looks great, and I think I would prefer walnuts over pistachios too.

  6. Maybe this might be the recipe to change my mind about kale.

    Oh kale no.

    1. You haven't watched "The Gladiator", you don't like kale....how come we're still friends?

  7. Lovely recipe - I made pretty similar pesto, but with spring onions instead of garlic and different kind of cheese - but I know, this version is perfect too ;)

    1. I have to try your version using spring onions, I'm intrigued...

  8. I've never used kale in my pesto before...looks like I'll be planting some more kale in my garden this year! I always make an epic batch of basil pesto every year (and freeze it to last through the winter)...but now I need to try this kale version. Well done, Alpha! #WolfpackEats

  9. I had no idea whips are smart... see? I come here for the food, and get a bonus lesson in English

    I am one smart cookie now

  10. I wonder what would happen if I ditched the nuts and used nutritional yeast instead of cheese........ EXPERIMENT TIME! ;)

  11. Hello Mike, I found you wonderful blog via Cheri´s Savory Spoon - amazing photography and wonderful sounding recipes - I am certainly glad I came here for a visit today and will make sure to visit again soon. Your Kale Walnut Pesto recipe sounds incredibly healthy and delicious (we are, after all, a kale loving nation) and the color is outstanding - thank you for a wonderful and seasonal recipe!

    1. Hey Andrea, thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello. I really appreciate it!

  12. I've never tried pesto with walnuts but it sounds all kinds of buttery delicious! I'm already envisioning this spooned over perfect scrambled eggs.

    1. I wanted to use pine nuts but I had none left in my pantry. So I used walnuts because that's what I had, and it was a total revelation. Soooo darn good!

  13. YUM! I would eat this to a quinoa salad with oven cooked chicken!
    Thank you for a great recipe!



  14. I have made this and put it on everything: noodles, zoodles, potatoes, sandwiches, my fingers (I just eat the pesto, though, not my fingers. I need them to type. haha.) It's really good, though I cut down on the oil and cheese a little. Thanks! I heart your blog!