This easy variation on classic pesto is made with kale, parsley, and toasted walnuts to make a flavorful sauce that can be used in a variety of ways.
The word “pesto” means “pounded” in Italian, but most of the time, when we refer to pesto, we’re talking about that classic uncooked sauce made with fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, pine (pignoli) nuts and Parmesan cheese.
This pesto recipe replaces the basil with a blend of kale and parsley and uses toasted walnuts in place of pine nuts. The flavor is a little milder than the traditional version, which makes it a bit more versatile, and as a bonus, the kale adds some extra nutritional punch.
Kale pesto is delicious as a condiment for broiled fish, grilled chicken or steak, or tossed with pasta for an easy side dish. You can also whisk it into salad dressing for added flavor, or serve it as a dipping sauce with crusty bread.
- 2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (loosely packed – see notes)
- 3/4 cup parsley leaves, loosely packed
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1-1/2 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Place the kale, parsley, garlic, olive oil and walnuts in the work bowl of a food processor.
- Pulse until the mixture has the consistency of a thick paste.
- Add the lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper and pulse to combine.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning and add a little extra olive oil if needed.
- Kale pesto can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.