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Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto in a glass bowl with basil, lemon, garlic and kale

Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto

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This Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto is zesty and lemony. It’s so lemony that if you taste it right out of the food processor you might make a sour-pucker face. This isn’t one of those dance around in the kitchen eating it by the spoonful kinds of sauces like the Vegan Garlic Alfredo. Yet magically, once you toss it with Cauliflower Gnocchi, pasta, or pasta salad, it’s very flavorful and there is no sour-pucker face.

Quick & Easy

Like most pestos, this summery pesto can be made very quickly. I love pesto for this. Do a very small amount of work and get a big, tasty return.

Make it your own

I am nuts for pistachios in pesto. You might be more into almonds, pine nuts, pepitas, or walnuts in your pesto. Have fun. Feel free to sub flat-leaf parsley for the basil or spinach for the kale. Not crazy about garlic? Skip it.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Since you won’t be heating this pesto at high temperatures, it can be made with extra-virgin olive oil, which has a low smoke point and is delicious in dressings and sauces.

Let’s Make Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto

Ingredients for Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto
Ingredients for Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto
All pesto ingredients except the nuts in the food processor

Pulse the kale, basil, olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.

Pulsing all pesto ingredients except the nuts
Pulsing all pesto ingredients except the nuts

Add the nuts and pulse until ground to desired consistency.

Adding the nuts to the lemon kale-basil pesto
Adding the nuts
Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto
Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto
Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto with Cauliflower Gnocchi

Taste and add more salt if desired, add a 1 – 2 TBSPs of water if you want to mellow it out. This pesto can be stored for 7 days in the fridge.

Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto in a glass bowl with basil, lemon, garlic and kale
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5 from 1 vote

Lemon Kale-Basil Pesto

This flavor-rich pesto is great to mix into pasta or pasta salad, use on pizza, or toss with gnocchi in a warm pan.
Course Meal Prep, Sauces
Cuisine American, California, Italian
Keyword dairy-free, Date Night, decadent, make-ahead, non-dairy, rich, vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 6 servings of 1/4 cup (recipe makes about 1.5 cups)
Calories 194kcal

Equipment

  • Food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 cup kale de-stemmed and cut into chunks packed
  • 1 cup basil leaves packed
  • 1 clove garlic more to taste
  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios unsalted, unroasted or sub other unsalted nuts
  • ¼ teaspoon salt more to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice the juice of one lemon
  • 1 – 2 TBSPs water optional

Instructions

  • Pulse the kale, basil, olive oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add the nuts and pulse until ground to desired consistency. Taste and add more salt if desired, add a 1 – 2 TBSPs of water if you want to mellow it out. This pesto can be stored for 7 days in the fridge.

Notes

Nutrition information is approximate.
www.planttestkitchen.com

Nutrition

Calories: 194kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 99mg | Potassium: 92mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 582IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg

For your shopping convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

Recipe adapted from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum.

Did you make this recipe?

How did you eat this pesto? With pasta or gnocchi? Did you toss it with pasta and tomatoes and then chill for a zesty pasta salad? Any substitutions? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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