Kale Walnut Pesto

Who doesn’t love a fragrant, flavor-packed pesto? Typically made with leafy green basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese and olive oil blended into a delicious paste – it’s a versatile spread that can be enjoyed in a multitude of ways. But why not change it up with kale? Kale or borecole, a form of cabbage, is one of the healthiest vegetables around.


Until the end of the Middle Ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Curly leafed varieties of cabbage already existed along with flat leafed varieties in Greece in the fourth century BC. These forms, which were referred to by the Romans as Sabellian kale, are considered to be the ancestors of modern kales. The name borecole most likely originates from the Dutch boerenkool (farmer’s cabbage).


Kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and reasonably rich in calcium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane – particularly when chopped or minced – a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Kale is also a source of indole-3-carbinol, a chemical which boosts DNA repair in cells and appears to block the growth of cancer cells.

So… we’ve got super flavor and super powers, now let’s get on to my super easy recipe!

Kale Walnut Pesto


4 cups young kale leaves, ribs removed, coursely chopped
1 large fresh garlic clove, peeled and smashed
1 cup toasted walnuts
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until everything is uniformly blended and spoonably moist. Remove pesto from the processor and store in an airtight container. Use within one week.

Swirl into soups and stews, over hot pasta or warm bread, shake into a vinaigrette. It’s even yummy with fried or scrambled eggs.

Tip: If you won’t use all of the pesto within the week, spoon the mixture into a plastic ice cube tray and freeze until solid, then pop the pesto cubes out and transfer into a freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready to use.


If you make this recipe, snap a pic of your dish and hashtag it #kellylenihancooks. I'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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