Kale and Toasted Walnut Pesto

Kale and Toasted Walnut Pesto

You can make pesto with anything — leafy greens, nuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper…

The standard seems to be basil with pine nuts, but we’ve used spinach, arugula, and today, and maybe for the rest of eternity, we’re using kale. With the addition of walnuts (healthy!), this pesto is basically a Super Sauce. We drizzled it over ravioli, and have plans for Green Eggs tomorrow morning, but why even bother with these other foods?

Kale Toasted Walnut Pesto
Kale Toasted Walnut Pesto

The Kale Pesto tastes pretty good straight up with a spoon.

Kale Toasted Walnut Pesto

You can make this pesto with plain (raw) walnuts, but toasting them gives them a little extra flavor that can hang with the slightly more intense (and bitter) taste of kale.

makes about 1 cup


  • ½ cup plain/raw walnuts, roughly chopped;
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed;
  • about 3 cups chopped kale;
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese;
  • ½ – 1 cup extra virgin olive oil;
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.


  1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add walnuts and stir constantly (or gently shake pan) until toasted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let the walnuts cool.
  2. Pulse garlic clove ion food processor until it is chopped finely, about 30 seconds. Add kale, toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese and pulse until chopped. You may have to stop the food processor, open the top, and push the kale down toward the blades.
  3. With the food processor running on low, add olive oil in a steady stream until you get the consistency you want. I went with almost ¾ cup of olive oil.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper (we used about 1½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper).
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