Kale-Lemon Pesto


I grew up thinking pesto was basil and basil only. But I have tried many a restaurant’s version of pesto, (some tasty, others not so much) and have come up with a few versions myself. Pesto is basically a fresh uncooked pureed sauce. They can be quite versatile and are easy to make. A big plus is the “no-cook” part. I use less oil in this recipe (than most other pesto’s) making it a healthy and flavorful dip with raw or cooked vegetables, as a spread for pannini or bruschetta, a topping on grilled meats and fish and of course as a sauce with pasta.


  • 4 cups kale
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor, pulse the kale until it is finely chopped. Add the Parmesan, walnuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Pulse until all ingredients have combined.
With the processor running, add the olive oil slow-ly so that all of the ingredients bind together (emulsify).

Add 2 tablespoons of white balsamic vinegar and taste, (I like the additional tablespoon, you may not).  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and store in the refrigerator. Keeps for 3-4 days.



To use as a sauce for pasta, cook pasta according to package directions, drain, toss with  desired amount of Lemon-Kale Pest. Top with a few shavings of Parmesan (I used a whole wheat penne).

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