Kale pesto

Whether you’re a fan of kale or not, you’ll love this flavorful and satisfying Kale Pesto recipe. It’s easy to prepare, good for you, and perfect to serve with a fresh salad on the side.

What Is Pesto?

Pesto is a green sauce first created in Genoa and commonly served over different types of pasta. While it’s traditionally made with pine nuts, grated cheese, and a few other ingredients, you can make your own version of it using this Kale Pesto recipe. Yes, it includes kale as a primary ingredient. Even if you don’t like kale, you can still enjoy this delicious meal because the vegan homemade pesto sauce has an excellent taste to it. You can serve it over your favorite type of pasta.

Kale pesto pasta in a dish being hold with two hands.

Ingredients to Make the Kale Pesto

You’re going to need several important ingredients to make this delicious Kale Pesto recipe, including:

  • Kale. Rip the kale leaves into pieces before you add them to the food processor (affiliate link).
  • Pasta. You’ll need a one-pound package of pasta for this dish.
  • Walnuts. The walnuts bring the flavor to the pesto sauce that you’ll create from scratch.
  • Garlic Clove. You’re only going to need one garlic clove to enhance the taste of the sauce.
  • Lemon Juice. Bring a slightly acidic, citrus-like taste to your pesto by adding lemon juice to it.

The only other ingredients to use include capers, sea salt, black pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. If you don’t have extra virgin olive oil, you can use traditional olive oil. However, it’s best to use the extra virgin olive oil because it isn’t as processed.

a bowl of kale, stemmed and chopped

How many servings does the recipe make?

When you follow this recipe for vegan Kale Pesto, you’ll have enough for six servings. Each serving contains only 205 calories, making this dish the perfect light, healthy, and flavorful meal to have for lunch or dinner.

How long will it take to prepare the Kale Pesto pasta?

The Kale Pesto dish is an easy one to make. You’ll spend roughly 15 minutes preparing the ingredients and another 15 minutes cooking everything. You can have this flavorful meal ready to serve within 30 minutes.

kale and walnuts in the food processor container

Do I need to use fresh garlic?

Yes, you’ll need to use fresh garlic for this recipe. You’re going to add the garlic clove to the food processor (affiliate link) with the other ingredients. When you add the whole clove of garlic, it brings more flavor to the homemade pesto sauce that you’re creating. It is best if you roughly chop the garlic clove before adding it to the food processor (affiliate link).

Can I use bottled lemon juice?

While adding lemon juice to this recipe, it’s always best to use fresh juice from a whole lemon. However, if you don’t have lemons at home, you can use bottled lemon juice to add that acidic touch to the sauce or substitute it with apple cider vinegar (affiliate link).

How do I store the Kale Pesto?

You can store the sauce in one container and store your pasta in a separate container when you have leftovers. Put the containers in the fridge to keep the ingredients fresh for up to five days. It is normal for the pesto to oxidize a little bit on the top layer. To prevent it, you could drizzle olive oil on top.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to do the best vegan kale pesto

  • Always choose the best ingredients: the freshest kale and the most delicious walnuts.
  • Also, when you choose your olive oil, make sure you have one that’s 100% olive oil and cold press.
  • I like to add the kale leaves first with the garlic clove, walnuts, and salt to the container of the food processor (affiliate link). Then I give it a pulse until everything is finely chopped.
  • Then I start the food processor (affiliate link) at a low speed and add the rest of the ingredients. Finally, I like to add olive oil gradually.
adding a spoonful of kale pesto to the pasta

Other recipes that you may like:

So here is the recipe for the kale pesto recipe and I hope you like it. If you make it, please share a picture on Instagram or FB… I love to see your creations! Or you could Pin it and save it for later.

Don’t forget to give it five stars and let me know your questions, ideas or comments below.

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Kale pesto

Alejandra Graf
Kale and walnut pesto is delicious and very healthy. It is the perfect twist for the classic pesto recipe.
4.78 de 9 votos
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people
Calories 205 kcal


  • Pasta 1 package of 454 grams. 1 lb.
  • 2 cups kale leaves torn into pieces
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 -3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • black pepper
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Follow directions from the pasta package to cook it.
  • While the pasta is boiling, add to the container of a food processor all ingredients except olive oil. Cover and pulse repeatedly until everything is chopped.
  • Turn on the food processor and add the olive oil while the processor is running.
  • Check salt and pepper, adjust if necessary.
  • When the pasta is al dente, drain but keep a cup of water in which it was cooked.
  • Add tablespoon by tablespoon of pesto to the pasta until it is all covered. Then add the water you reserved, the water will absorb and the pasta will be creamier. Do not worry if it does not absorb immediately, it will absorb eventually.


Calories: 205kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 1gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 12mgPotassium: 63mgVitamin A: 700IUVitamin C: 8.6mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword kale pesto, vegan pesto


Nutritional information of this recipe is only an estimate, the accuracy for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Did you make this recipe?Tag @piloncilloyvainilla on Instagram and hashtag it #brownsugarandvanilla so we can all see your creations.
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3 years ago

5 stars
Love kale, love pesto, love orecchiette and love Brown Sugar and Vanilla!

Blanca D
Blanca D
3 years ago

5 stars
I love pesto! Is so cool when the kids help jn the kitchen. And here is the same, almost everything happens in the kitchen.

Deliciosamente light
Deliciosamente light
3 years ago

5 stars
Me parece una súper buena opción.

3 years ago

5 stars
This version of the traditional pesto is amazing! I would love to try the recipe soon!

3 years ago

Ale, This Kale Pesto looks incredible : D I like all of your recipes. So in love with Vegan food so thank you for sharing all your knowledge.

3 years ago

5 stars
This looks delicious Ale!! I love the walnuts in there.

Ana Cristina Enríquez
Ana Cristina Enríquez
3 years ago

5 stars
Definitely I love this recipe. I’m going to try it this week.





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