One thing I love about summertime is all the fresh herbs and vegetables that thrive so well in my garden. I get to include them in my sauces and stews and they definitely take my recipes to another level. Nothing like fresh basil and kale leaves picked fresh from the garden.  I decided to capture some of its amazing flavors in my this kale basil pesto recipe. 

Vegan Kale Pesto

So if you are trying to figure out what to do with your summer surplus of basil then this amazing tasting pesto recipe is just for you. Serve it as a dip, use instead of tomato sauce on pizza, or toss with hot gnocchi. 

Traditional pesto recipe has dairy, it’s usually made with basil, pinenuts, olive oil, and aged hard cheese. My version uses nutritional yeast flakes for a cheesy taste. I used walnuts instead of pinenuts, you are welcome to substitute the nuts for your favorite.

Kale is a superfood that is packed with nutrients. It is one of the highest sources of Vitamin A, which strengthens your vision and immune system. It is also high in Vitamin C and K. I am always trying to find ways to implement it in our meals. Read more about the Benefits Of Kale

Kale Pesto Ingredients

  • Kale – I used baby kale but any kale can be used, just remove the tough veins and chop.
  • Basil 
  • Walnut
  • Garlic
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt
  • Olive Oil

You can use any variety of kale, whether it is Lacinato, Lark’s Tongue, Red Russian, Siberian, or Vates, the taste of the basil will be more dominant so you don’t have to worry if you are not a fan of kale.

Fresh kale, basil leaves, garlic for vegan garlic pesto on a wooden board

How To Make Kale Pesto?

  1. Using a food processor, add kale, basil, walnuts, garlic, nutritional yeast flakes, lemon juice, and salt in. Process until pesto reaches the desired texture, scrape down the sides of the food processor. Cover food processor with its lid, and start processing again, slowly drizzle the olive oil while processing to form a paste. 
  2.  Taste pesto to make sure it has enough salt, add more if needed. Also if your pesto is to dry, add extra olive oil. Scoop the pesto into a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
  3. You can also add oil on top of the pesto, this helps to reduce oxidation.

vegan kale pesto ingredients in the food processor

What Can I Use Pesto For?

  • Pasta 
  • Sandwich Spread
  • Gnocchi
  • Pizza
  • Dip
  • Salad dressing

Can You Freeze Pesto?

Absolutely, freeze your pesto during summer and enjoy the taste of summer of winter long. To freeze pesto, blend all the ingredients and pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen, place the kale pesto cubes into a freezer container in the freezer. When you are ready to use, remove the amount you need and thaw. 

Other Kale Recipes To Try

Vegan Kale pesto in a glass jar, made with kale, basil, garlic on a wooden cutting board

Categories

Nutrition

(Per portion)
  • Energy: 200 kcal / 836 kJ
  • Fat: 20 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Carbs: 1 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 5 min
  • Cooking: 2 min
  • Ready in: 7 min
  • For:
  • 8 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor except the olive oil, process until a paste is formed. Stop the food processor and scrape down the sides.
  2. Continue to process, slowly drizzle olive oil.  Taste pesto to make sure it has enough salt, add more if needed. Also if your pesto is to dry, add extra olive oil. Scoop the pesto into a container with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator for about 3 days.
Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.