KALE PESTO {recipe}

kale pesto on zucchini noodle pasta
I keep some version of kale/parsley pesto in my refrigerator at all times. It is one of my personal “mother sauces.”

(Other sauces from another mother: anchovy or fish sauce vinaigrette, ginger scallion, gohchujang hot sauce, miso-tahini)

Sometimes my kale pesto has almonds or pistachios or walnuts. Sometimes it has Parmesan cheese. Sometimes I get crazy and add anchovies or capers. Most times, it’s just strong and straight up kale, parsley, garlic, and olive oil.
kale pesto on zucchini noodle pasta

This pesto is great for: mixingintobrownricebowlsandwichaiolipastaflatbreadpizzasaucedressingstirintosoupdip.

So basically, everything.

kale pesto on zucchini noodle pasta

It is an easy way to get a quick hit of kale and parsley, both of which are just “good for you” and for your skin, along with that raw garlic and olive oil.

kale pesto - jars

KALE PESTO {recipe}

makes about 1 cup of pesto


1 bunch of kale, leaves only
handful of Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems only
1 clove garlic
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
optional: juice from half a lemon, finely grated lemon zest


Smash garlic clove and remove green stem inside. Chop in food processor until roughly chopped, stopping food processor to scrape garlic bits off sides and back down into food processor bowl.

Tear kale leaves and parsley into small pieces and add to food processor a handful at a time until all the leaves have been added and are roughly chopped.

With the food processor running, drizzle olive oil until the pesto is the consistency you want. I like my pesto on the thicker side, spreadable as opposed to pourable. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few hard turns on a black pepper mill to start, adjusting to your taste.

Add lemon juice and finely grated lemon zest if you like that flavor. I usually leave it out when I make the entire batch and store as is, then add lemon juice and/or zest if it’s appropriate at the time I am eating.

Pesto keeps for about five days in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.


  • use any kind of kale for this pesto, but I like green curly kale as opposed to the very dark green, long skinny lacinato/Tuscan/dinosaur kale because the curly kale make the pesto a brighter green
  • any and all produce, organic, from local farmers’ markets or Whole Foods Market
  • olive oil: organic, extra-virgin olive oil, whatever is on sale at the grocery store, currently Whole Foods Market in-house brand
  • salt: Kosher salt
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