I know I have a million and one recipes on here for kale but I’m pretty sure there is no kale pesto…which is surprising because I do make it often!
I really enjoy using kale for pesto because it is one of the most nutrient dense greens. Basil pesto tastes great but it doesn’t come close to kale as far as having the benefits of being a “green”. Even if you’re not a kale lover, I would recommend trying it in a pesto because you can hide the flavor and still reap the benefits.
I recommend buying some nutritional yeast for pesto making (really, I use it on everything!) so you’re not missing out on the “cheesy” flavor that usually accompanies a pesto. You can find it at most health food stores, or at your local co-op. It’s usually in the bulk section but I think you could find it prepackaged as well. Check to make sure that it is fortified with vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast is NOT an active yeast, I know sometimes people avoid it for that reason but rest assured it is not active. If you’ve never tried it, it is seriously addictive! I sprinkle it liberally on all my pasta dishes and it works great as a cheese flavored substitute for a cheese sauce. I do have a noochy cheese sauce recipe in the archives on here…
1 bunch of kale, depending on what type you use (lacinato, green or Russian) and how big your farmer/ grocery store bundles the kale this will vary. On average I’d say about 10 large leaves with the tough middle rib removed (save them for a salad or veggie stir fry)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1/3 c nuts, walnut or cashews are my favorites
5-6 T cold pressed olive oil (More if necessary)
Optional – chopped kalamata olives for some saltiness!
Pack the kale down into your blender. It will most likely fill it up but it will lose most of it’s volume as you blend it.
Add the nuts, garlic and nutritional yeast and begin to blend on low speed.
Slowly stream in the oil with the blender on.
Stop and scrape down if necessary.
Keep blending until you get it as smooth as you like. It most likely wont get as smooth as a basil pesto would because of how fibrous the kale is, but you can get it fairly smooth. You can add more oil if it seems too dry and/ or it’s not blending well.
Taste and add salt if necessary. The nutritional yeast (nooch) has a salty flavor so I usually don’t add salt.
I added in the option of using olives here in two ways; either add them into the blender with the other ingredients for another salty flavor or if you’re going to toss the pesto with some pasta, just toss them in as well.
Store any unused portion in the fridge. You can heat this on the stove (gently!) if you like; just add a little stock or water to thin it out.