This kale pesto is earthy, nutty, and cheesy not to mention it is a fantastic way to get in your greens. This versatile sauce is quick and easy to pull together and a great recipe to prep in the beginning of the week for countless dishes. Say goodbye basil, and grab a bunch of kale. Stumbled on this post but don’t like kale? Check out my Spinach Pesto, Rustic Pesto, or Broccoli Rabe Pesto for other variations.
While this variation of pesto doesn’t taste like the traditional genovese pesto, it can be used just like it. Below are some great ideas on how to utilize it.
Go figure. Pasta would be my first choice here, and while you can easily dollop some on hot pasta with a splash of pasta water, might I suggest you making this into a creamy pesto pasta? I wrote a small blurb under ” How to make” to give instructions on how to make the creamy pesto pasta with ricotta and prosciutto as pictured.
This pesto would be AMAZING with eggs. Either place a dollop in the frying pan while frying eggs or spread it over cooked eggs, of any kind.
Grain Bowls + Flat Breads
This would be a fantastic topper for pizza, grain bowls, and flat breads. Might I also recommend using it on my Sourdough Focaccia recipe (before baking).
This recipe couldn’t be easier, in fact I questioned whether you even need this section. Below are the easy and quick steps on making this kale pesto.
Roast the Pistachios – This step is unnecessary if you already bought pre-roasted pistachios. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lay the pistachios on a sheet tray in a single layer and roast for 3-5 minutes. You aren’t looking for a ton of color, but you will know they are done when they have more of a bite to them. Regardless do not let them go over 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool.
Process the the Hard Ingredients – To the food processor add the garlic, pistachios, and Parmesan cheese. The parm can either be added pre-grated or if you want a bit more texture throw it in large chunks and allow the food processor to break it down. Run the processor on low until the texture resembled course sand. Clean the kale. Remove the kale leaves from the stalks, which can easily be done by holding the stalk and quickly pulling it through a tight grip. Place the leaves in the food processor, this might need to be done in 2-3 batches depending on your processors size. Run on high until all the leaves have broken down. Do not get discouraged if some of the leaves don’t break down. Simple stop the machine and carefully push them down closer to the blade.
Add the Olive Oil – Running the food processor on low drizzle in the olive oil until it makes a thick paste. This pesto runs a little thick so you can use it for countless purposes. Feel free to add another 1/4-1/2 cup of olive oil to thin it out. Taste, and then salt. I make this with unsalted pistachios so I typically add 1/2 tsp + but always salt to taste.
Chances are if Instagram led you here you saw the creamy pesto pasta post. While this pesto can be placed directly on pasta with a bit of pasta water, it tastes even better made into a cream sauce with some additional ingredients.
Boil 1/2 lb of pasta in salty water as per instructions. To a skillet over low heat add 1 cup of heavy cream and 4-5 tbsp of the kale pesto. Feel free to add more if you need to. Mix to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce thickens, this should just be a few minutes. Salt to taste. Toss in the pasta to coat. Top each plate with a generous amount of ricotta and prosciutto.
*If by any chance you over simmered to cream sauce and it became too thick, thin it out with some pasta water.
This recipe makes approx. 2 cups of pesto. The kale pesto can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days max. This pesto is best used cold, however since this isn’t a traditional pesto there are dishes such as pasta that I am in full support heating up for 1-2 minutes.