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Kale Pesto Recipe

I love making freezer pesto, and have made it the last several years. It’s a great way to store your basil harvest all year long and it’s perfect to add to noodles or fix a plain spaghetti sauce. This year was my first year growing Kale in my garden and we get some from our CSA box every couple weeks so we’ve had an abundance. After all the salads, quiche and kale chips I decided to make Kale pesto. I’m always looking for ways to get my kids to eat more greens and this is such a great recipe because of how simple and healthy it is, and how easily I can integrate it into meals without the kids complaining, or even noticing. I’ve never been someone to use pine nuts or Parmesan in my pesto because I usually don’t have any on hand and after years of making my own Pesto I don’t find either of those ingredients necessary.

Kale Pesto Ingredients

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


One Bunch Kale
One Bunch Basil
One large head of garlic (or 2-3 small heads)
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 cup Olive oil

Makes approximately 10 oz.

Despite a total time of an hour and ten minutes this recipe really only takes about 15 minutes of hands on time to make. The only part you actually cook is the garlic. Roasting the garlic gives it a more mild flavor, so if your big garlic fans you might even want to use two large heads. I’ve yet to have a pesto turn out too garlicy.

Step 1. Wrap your garlic in foil and put in your oven at 350 for one hour.

Step 2. Cut Basil and Kale into ribbons and add to food processor. I make my pesto with my immersion blender because I don’t have a good quality food processor and it turns out great so you can certainly use your immersion blender if you prefer,  a food processor will give you a little more control over the consistency though.

Chopped basil

Step 3. Add salt, garlic and olive oil to your food processor and blend until smooth. If your pesto isn’t blending easily and smoothly add additional olive oil until you reach desired consistency.


Step 4. To store your Kale Pesto you can put it into a jar and store in the refrigerator for one month. If you do this make sure to add a layer of olive oil to the top of your pesto to keep it fresh, or freeze your pesto in an ice cube tray and store in the freezer for one year.

Kale Basil Pesto

My kids are big noodle eaters and I love adding an ‘ice’ cube or two of pesto to their mac and cheese or ramen noodles to get some more greens in their diet. This pesto goes great on cold pasta salad too.


My son’s new favorite after school snack is pesto and tomatoes on garlic naan bread. It’s only the first week of school, but so far this has been the biggest hit in a while.

Do you guys have any great ideas for storing your abundance of summer greens?

3 thoughts on “Kale Pesto Recipe

  1. What a great idea! Hopefully my basil patch does ok next year and I can give this a try.

    1. Thanks, I have so much trouble with basil too! If I made straight basil pesto I wouldn’t have enough to make it last the winter, but I have a good stock of this.

  2. This Kale pesto recipe will have to wait a mere 2 months, though, then I ll be drowning in kale from my farm share and will be eager to try this out.

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