Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto Recipe Video – scroll down for recipe card

Basil time is over, dudes, and there’s a dreary pall over the whole town it feels like. But that don’t mean we cain’t make pesto! This kale pesto with parsley and pecans will perk ya right up, homies. It’s bright and fresh and another great way to use this miracle green errybody’s going on and on about.

Feel free to use walnuts or pine nuts in place of pecans (though personally I love the sweetness that pecans bring to the table). If you have a nut allergy, sunflower seeds would also be tasty. And if you have a dairy allergy, replace the parmesan with some (drained) marinated artichoke hearts! Omit the salt and lemon juice in that case, though.

Kale Pesto Recipe – Printable!

kale pesto recipe


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 cup packed kale leaves (or spinach leaves) stems removed
  • ½ cup packed parsley
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 12 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½2/3 cup olive oil
  • For serving:
  • 8 ounces spaghettini or spaghetti


  1. Combine the kale and pecans in a food chopper or processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add all other ingredients except oil and pulse until coarse paste forms.
  2. Add oil a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  3. Cook pasta as directed.
  4. Before draining, dip out about a cup of pasta cooking water and set aside.
  5. Drain pasta and put into a large bowl. Add pesto and ½ cup pasta water. Toss with tongs until coated, adding a little more water if necessary.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

kale pesto


  1. Diane on November 11, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    I haven’t even watched this yet, and I’m SO on board!

  2. Diane on November 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Okay, just watched and now I’m even more enthused. I’ve made pesto with spinach before, but never thought of using kale. You are so smart!

  3. Christine on November 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Looks fabulous, Hilah! I knew your take on kale pesto would be unique and wonderful. Pecans! Great idea. Being vegan I love the heads up on the artichoke hearts instead of parm. I would never have thought of that idea! You are awesome.

  4. Chris on November 15, 2013 at 11:49 am

    You make things so enjoyable. I tried raw kale but hadn’t a clue how to make it look better than steak.

    • Hilah on November 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Thanks, Chris! I take it this recipe seems a close run for steak to you? 🙂

  5. Nicoleta on November 19, 2013 at 12:15 am

    I do a lot of juicing and have used kale a lot lately. I really abhor throwing away all the pulp and was wondering if somehow it can be used in this recipe…. or any ideas on what i can use the pulp for.

    • Hilah on November 19, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Hi Nicoleta!
      I think kale pulp would work here, since there are so many other flavors and wet ingredients to make up for the dryness of the pulp. I’ve also heard of people using juicer pulp in muffins and quick breads. You could try using the pulp in place of zucchini in zucchini bread. Or add it to guacamole or salsa verde, maybe?
      I hope that helps!

  6. Brianna on January 25, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Hi Hilah, long time viewer, first time commenter. Just wanted to let you know I’m excited for your return to videos and am wishing you healing/rest/recovery and anything else you need during your break. Also wanted to let you know that this kale pesto is one of my favorite recipes from you–so simple and so delicious.
    Best, Brianna

    • Hilah on January 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Hi Brianna!
      So glad this recipe has made a home with you. 🙂 Thank you for writing.

  7. Alex on August 1, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Hi Hilah!
    I’m pretty sure I have kale and everything (I feel a bit lazy and I don’t want to get up from my bed), but, the only things I’m missing are the pecans and olive oil. Could Canola oil be used instead and do I have to use nuts? My second question is can I use grated Parmesan with this recipe?


    • Hilah on August 1, 2014 at 7:16 am

      Hey Alex!
      Canola oil will work just fine, and you can omit the pecans if you don’t have any (or use another nut like walnuts, pine nuts if you have those). There is some grated Parmesan in the pesto already, but you could always add a little more if you want!

  8. ryan on March 16, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    YES! Also, speaking of using another nut -I made pesto the other night and used corn nuts (you’re gosh darn right, CORN NUTS) instead of pine nuts. It was crazy town good!

    Can’t wait for your new variety channel to start!

    • Hilah on March 17, 2015 at 7:29 am

      Omigod. Totally stealing your cornnuts idea, Ryan! I can imagine that being real good with some cilantro and garlic.

Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.