Kale and Walnut Pesto

Kale and Walnut Pesto. Any easy, flavorful, thick pesto that’s packed with kale and walnuts with a lemony, garlicky kick.

Kale and Walnut Pesto | Green Valley Kitchen

I’m a big fan of making your own pesto.  It’s quick, easy to make, adds a lot of flavor to your dish and you usually have most of the ingredients already on hand.

Recently, I’ve been experiment with different greens to try and up the nutritional value of pesto and kale is the winner.  Baby kale to be exact.  This kale and walnut pesto has more nutritional oomph than regular pesto.  It’s a thick pesto with a lemony, garlicky kick and can be used in a multiple of ways.

Pesto is a great staple to have on hand.  It adds a zingy boost to most dishes and it’s extremely flavorful.  I try to make a big batch and keep some in the fridge so I can add it to whatever I plan on making throughout the week.

If you read my blog regularly you’ll know that I’m a big fan of baby kale.  It’s becoming very easy to find in the supermarkets in Southern California.  I hope it becomes as easy to find as baby spinach has become.

Kale and Walnut Pesto | Green Valley Kitchen

Pesto isn’t just for pasta.  You can use it in a sandwich or panini as a spread, add it to salad dressing, or mix it with some sour cream to make a quick dip.

Try adding some to your scrambled eggs or an omelet.

Toss roasted vegetables with some pesto or add a dollop to a baked potato or some soup.  There are endless ways to use pesto.

Kale and Walnut Pesto | Green Valley Kitchen

 A couple of notes:

When adding pesto to hot pasta, just add a tablespoon or two at a time, tossing as you go.  You want all the pasta strands to be lightly coated – not heavily covered in pesto.  With pesto, sometimes less is more.

This isn’t a loose, oily pesto.  It’s thick and full bodied.  It’s easy to spread on bread or toast and when adding it to pasta it won’t leave a big oily puddle in the bottom of your bowl.

Kale and walnut pesto will really perk up any sandwich that you want to make.  I added it to french bread with a little lettuce, avocado and tomato and just loved the result.  I’m planning on bringing this sandwich to work a couple of times this week.

This made about 1 and 1/2 cups of pesto.


Kale and Walnut Pesto

Kale and Walnut Pesto | Green Valley Kitchen

Kale and Walnut Pesto. Any easy, flavorful, thick pesto that’s packed with kale and walnuts with a lemony, garlicky kick.

  • Author: Geraldine
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce


  • 5 oz bag of baby kale – washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup of walnut pieces
  • Juice from 1 small lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves – peeled
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 twists of black pepper
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil


  1. Add kale, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese and black pepper to a food processor. Start food processor and slowly pour the olive oil in a steady stream into the food processor (through the feed tube). Process until completely blended. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl of the food processor.



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22 comments on “Kale and Walnut Pesto

  1. Robin

    I can’t wait to try the pesto and other salads, I’m trying to lose weight. Going through menopause and a hypothyroid it’s crazy try to figure out what I can have. Thank you for these super easy recipes.

    1. Geraldine Post author

      Hi Robin – thanks so much for stopping by. Best of luck to you and I hope you enjoy the pesto and some of the other recipes on the site!

  2. Izzy

    I’ve made kale pesto before, but never with baby kale. That is such a great idea!! It is so much more tender and I bet it makes for such a delicious pesto! I can’t wait to put this all over some pasta 🙂

  3. Julia | Orchard Street Kitchen

    I love this idea, Geraldine! I really enjoy making my own pesto too, and agree that it’s fun to experiment with different flavors. I haven’t tried kale pesto yet, but can’t wait to try it out. And I love all your ideas for using it – pasta is only the beginning! Oh, and gorgeous photos 🙂

    1. Geraldine Post author

      Thanks, Julia. The Kale gives the pesto a fresh, grassy flavor – I really like it. It worked really well on a sandwich or pasta. Or you could toss it with your quinoa bowl :).

  4. annie@ciaochowbambina.com

    So, the first thing I want to say is Wow! I love pesto and I love this. Now – I am not a huge fan of kale, however, baby kale – I can get behind. You made me very happy with that…Secondly, I wanted to say that the sandwich was also speaking to me except that then my eyes slowly drifted back to the pasta and I was torn. It’s a tie. I love everything about this, Geraldine!

    1. Geraldine Post author

      I’m with you on mature kale – I know I should be eating it – but it was too tough. Baby kale is definitely the answer – packed with nutrients but much easier to eat. I love that you were torn between the pasta and the sandwich, Annie! Thanks!

  5. Traci | Vanilla And Bean

    I’ve not thought of making kale pesto, but always have pesto on hand. I keep it stocked in my freezer from summer fresh veggies such as scape and basil. But this! THIS, I can make all winter long! I’m so excited about this recipe! All I could think about using it on, besides pasta and crostini, was my favorite: PIZZA! Oh wow! Such deliciousness to be had here! Thank you Geraldine! Looking forward to this! 😀


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