Go Back
+ servings
A white bowl with green basil kale pesto in it with a silver spoon in the bowl.
Print Pin
No ratings yet

Kale Pesto Recipe

Kale Pesto is a delicious homemade nut-free pesto sauce with a nice peppery twist from the kale. This is great on poultry, veggies, pork, and soups. Freezes really well too.
Course Sauce, Seasoning
Cuisine American
Keyword kale pesto, nut-free pesto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 110kcal
Author Eileen xo



  • 3 cups chopped kale Note 1
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • cup Parmesan cheese Note 2
  • cup olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • Place kale, basil, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor. 
  • Add in about ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  • Blend until everything is broken down and smooth.
  • Taste for seasoning, if needed adjust seasoning. (Note 3)
  • Store the pesto in an airtight container in your refrigerator.


Note 1: Don't use the stems in the pesto. They have too much of a bite. Place the stems in a freezer bag with other veggie scraps to make a vegetable stock. Be sure to wash the kale and basil to remove before beginning the recipe. Use a salad spinner or cloth towel to dry the veggies.
Note 2: This is a simple recipe with just a few ingredients, use the best Parmesan cheese in your price range. It is worth it to have amazing tasting results. 
Note 3: If you are finding a bitter taste in the pesto, add a bit of honey to balance the flavors. I have never needed to but I get a lot of questions from friends asking how to balance any bitterness in kale. 
Keep the kale pesto in an air tight storage container in the fridge for up to five days.
Freezer Storage:
For longer storage, freeze the pesto in ice cube trays. We generally put two Tablespoons of pesto in each cube so we know what we always have ready. Once they are frozen, place them in a freezer safe storage bag or container.
Take them out of the freezer as needed. Defrost in the fridge for a few hours or microwave the frozen cube for a few seconds to thaw it out. ( The ice cube tray I use is in the equipment section of the recipe card.) 
If adding to a soup, just toss the frozen pesto into the soup and it will melt in nicely. The pesto defrosts fairly quickly in the fridge too.
I'm not a registered dietician, I do my best to provide the most accurate nutritional values. Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation. Actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and portion sizes


Serving: 2Tablespoons | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 134mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2582IU | Vitamin C: 31mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 1mg