Kale Pesto

By Rena Patten

Kale Pesto
Replace traditional rocket or basil with Kale for a delicious superfood alternative.

Kale Pesto Recipe

Makes about 2 cups

Rena Patten’s recipe from Cooking From Kale says the cavolo nero works best for making the pesto. Use this pesto to serve with pasta or over rice or cooked quinoa. Pesto will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.


10–12 large stalks cavolo nero (Tuscan kale)
Small handful fresh basil leaves including the stalks
3–4 garlic cloves, chopped
125 g pine nuts
1/2 – 3/4 cup Parmesan, freshly grated
Juice of 1/2 –1 lemon
2/3 – 3/4 cup or 150–175ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste


Thoroughly wash the kale. Remove and discard the entire stalk and roughly chop the leaves.

Place the kale, basil, garlic, pine nuts, cheese and lemon juice into a food processor and process until the ingredients are all combined and finely chopped.

With the motor running slowly drizzle in the olive oil starting with the lesser amount until the pesto is a smooth and creamy consistency. Scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly during processing.

Season to taste; add more cheese, oil or lemon juice according to your taste.


Cooking With Kale by Rena patten is published by New Holland Publishers and available in all good book stores or  online.


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