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Easy Kale Pesto – Fit Foodie Finds

Make it Easy Cabbage Pesto Recipe With fresh kale, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. It’s the perfect complement to pasta dishes as a dip or marinade.

Kale pesto in a bowl.

Surprisingly Easy Kale Pesto

Pesto is a fun way to flavor pasta, proteins and anything in between. Our Classic Pesto recipe is a popular one on Fit Foodie Finds, but we wanted to make a Kale Pesto that features kale instead of the more traditional basil. And it’s delicious!

What is pesto?

Pesto is a green sauce that originated in Italy. It is usually made with basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil.

What is pesto made of? Classic pesto is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil.

There are many variations of pesto including kale pesto like this one, walnut pesto, basil pesto, vegetarian pesto, etc.

How do you serve pesto? Pesto is often served as a sauce over pasta. It can also be used as a dip, marinade, or dressing (check out our Israeli Couscous Salad!).

Ingredients for Cauliflower Pesto.

Kale Pesto Ingredients

Fresh Cabbage: Have a ton of extra kale on hand? Kale Pesto is the perfect recipe to make sure none of it goes to waste! Be sure to debone your kale for this recipe.

Olive Oil: We love the flavor of extra virgin olive oil and it is the main fat in this sauce. Not only does this make it super buttery, but it also helps thin it down and turn it into a sauce.

Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan cheese adds such a savory, salty, savory flavor to this kale pesto sauce.

Walnut: Pine nuts are traditionally used in pesto sauces, but we’re using walnuts in our Kale Pesto. We use ours raw, but you can toast them for even bigger flavor.

Garlic cloves: We roast the garlic to extract the flavor of the garlic and create a delicious depth of flavor. You can use raw garlic, but it will change the flavor of the pesto.

Lemon juice: Lemon juice adds just the right amount of acidity to this chutney. Don’t skip it.

Salt: A little kosher salt brings all these ingredients together into an incredible sauce. Be sure to start small and go from there.

Recommended Kitchen Tools

All ingredients for Kale Pesto in a food processor.

How to make Kale Pesto

Smash and Sauté Garlic

Take the bottom of a glass or a large chef’s knife and place it on top of each garlic clove and press down firmly until the garlic clove is flattened.

HEAT 1.5 Tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium/high heat, and saute garlic until fragrant and slightly golden brown.

put ingredients into food processor

Add the cooked garlic to a high-powered food processor along with the kale, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, walnuts, salt, and remaining olive oil.

pulse content

Pulse the ingredients in a food processor to blend, and then process all ingredients on HIGH for 2-4 minutes or until ingredients are thick and creamy.

Pro Tip: Be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times during the processing time.

test for texture

Pesto should be thick and creamy after it has been processed.

If the pesto is still dry and chunky, add a teaspoon or two more olive oil, scraping down the sides and continuing to process the pesto until it becomes thick and creamy.

Sometimes processing the pesto for a long time will leach out the oils from the walnuts which will add more moisture to the pesto.

Serve and enjoy!

Serve the pesto over pasta as a sauce on sandwiches, or transfer the pesto to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

ingredient swap

  • Cauliflower: Don’t have cabbage? Try using spinach or basil instead.
  • Walnut: No walnuts on hand? Try using pine nuts, cashews, pecans or almonds instead.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Hoping to keep this recipe dairy-free? Our Vegan Parmesan Cheese is a great option.
  • Olive Oil: Use grape seed oil instead of olive oil.

Vegan Pesto

How to Serve Kale Pesto

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach with our Kale Pesto recipe. One of our favorite things about this is how you can use it, it’s so versatile!

Marinade: Pesto makes a great marinade. try our Pesto Chicken Skewers.

sauce: Pesto is a great base for salad dressing! Add more olive oil to make it a light and thin dressing or simply drizzle it directly over your salad. You’ll love our Israeli Couscous Salad.

sauce: Sauce is all you need to top your vegetables or proteins. This Kale Pesto Just Works! Try our Pesto Chicken Meal Prep or Mediterranean Salmon.

dip: Keep it simple and use your pesto as a dip for bread, veggies or crackers!

Pasta: Toss the al dente pasta with the pesto and serve as is. You can also check out our Chicken Pesto Pasta recipe for a hearty meal.

Spread: Use it as a spread on a sandwich or pita bread. Check out our Roasted Red Pepper and Pesto Turkey Sandwiches.

Top Tips for Cabbage Pesto

Very thick?

Is Your Kale Pesto A Little Too Thick? Add a little olive oil with a spoon until it becomes thin.

very slim?

If things seem a little too thin, just add more fresh kale. That should do the trick!

add other herbs

Try adding other fresh herbs like basil, parsley, or thyme to your kale pesto! This will give your kale pesto some depth.

Kale Pesto Storage

Transfer your kale pesto to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-5 days.

How to Freeze Kale Pesto

Freezing Kale Pesto is so easy and a great way to use up all your fresh kale! how to do this:

  1. Transfer pesto to ice cube trays. Stuff 1 to 2 tablespoons pesto into each ice cube so that it fills 3/4 full.
  2. Place in freezer for at least 2 hours or until completely set.
  3. Take the kale pesto ice cubes out of the tray and then transfer the frozen cubes to an airtight container or gallon-size bag.
  4. Freeze for up to 3 months.

melt: Simply let frozen kale pesto sit on the counter for 1 hour or transfer them to a nonstick skillet and defrost on the stovetop over medium heat.

Kale Pesto is a Crostini.
Kale pesto in a bowl.

Easy Kale Pesto

Make it Easy Cabbage Pesto Recipe With fresh kale, walnuts, olive oil, lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. It’s wonderful in pasta dishes, as a dip or marinade.

Preparation:15 minutes

the Cook:5 minutes

complete:20 minutes

material

  • cup Olive Oil Separate
  • 4 Clove Garlic peeled off
  • 4 cup Shredded Cabbage deboned and packaged
  • and a half cup grated Parmesan cheese medium grater
  • 3 big spoon fresh lemon juice
  • and a half cup Walnut
  • 1 small spoon kosher salt

Instruction

  • Take the bottom of a glass or a large chef’s knife and place it on top of each garlic clove and press down firmly until the garlic clove is flattened.

  • HEAT 1.5 Tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium/high heat. When the aroma of olive oil starts coming, add garlic. Fry the garlic until fragrant and slightly golden brown.

  • Add the cooked garlic to a high-powered food processor along with the kale, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, walnuts, salt, and remaining olive oil.

  • Pulse the ingredients in a food processor to blend, and then process all ingredients on HIGH for 2-4 minutes or until ingredients are thick and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the food processor a few times during the processing time.

  • Pesto should be thick and creamy after it has been processed. If the pesto is still dry and chunky, add a teaspoon or two more olive oil, scraping down the sides and continuing to process the pesto until it becomes thick and creamy. Sometimes processing the pesto for a long time will leach out the oils from the walnuts which will add more moisture to the pesto.

  • Serve the pesto over pasta as a sauce on sandwiches, or transfer the pesto to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Tips and Notes

  • This recipe yields about 3/4 cup pesto.
  • This isn’t a drizzled pesto, it’s a thick pesto sauce. If you want a wetter pesto, add 1-2 teaspoons of water until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • We roast the garlic to extract its flavor and create a delicious depth of flavour.
  • You can use raw garlic, but it will change the flavor of the pesto.
  • You can add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream if you want a “creamier” pesto.
  • If you do not have walnuts, you can also use almonds or pistachios.
  • This pesto has to be used within 5 days if kept in the fridge. To spread the pesto, transfer the pesto to an ice tray and freeze the pesto for 1-2 hours. Take the pesto cubes out of the ice cube tray and store them in a freezer safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

nutrition Facts

Calories: 169kcal Carbohydrates: 4Yes Protein: 4Yes thick: 16Yes Fiber: 2Yes sugar: 1Yes

Photography: The photos in this post were taken by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.

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