kale pesto

Kitchen Sink Pesto

Do you ever find yourself cooking without a guide, following your taste buds and instincts? More often than not, that’s how I cook, which makes recipe building more than a little tricky. So here we are, another non-recipe recipe!

Pesto is one of my favorite I-don’t-know-what-to-make-but-I-bought-too-many-greens-at-the-farmers-market recipes. It’s forgiving, easy, and oh so delicious. Plus you get the added virtue of feeling healthy for packing a bunch of greens into an addictive sauce.

Basil + garlic + parmesan + pine nuts may be the most traditional version of pesto, but I’ve found that it works just as well with substitutions. Kale, spinach, and parsley are wonderful. Walnuts and almonds are more common in my pantry (and more cost effective). I’ve even made it without parmesan (why, though?) and found that my accidental veganism was still delightful.

Who said it’s not easy being green?

Kitchen Sink Pesto

Serves: as many as you like, depending on how much you make! Or, for this semi-recipe, about 4 entree servings of pasta.
Time: 10 minutes


  • 1 bunch kale (curly or lancinato)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 C toasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts)
  • Half a lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional: extra greens (leftover parsley, basil, etc)


If using kale, strip the leaves from the tough stems. Add greens, garlic, nuts, and parmesan to a food processor. Pulse to roughly chop.

Add lemon juice, and run the food processor. While running, drizzle in olive oil, starting with about 1/2 C until the pesto has come together to your desired consistency.

Serve with pasta, over grilled chicken, tossed into rice for pilaf, or however you like!


I like my kale pesto to be a little chunkier than traditional basil, but you can continue to run to make it as creamy as desired.

If you’re storing your pesto, pack into an airtight container and add a layer of olive oil to cover the top and keep it green. Keeps for 1 week.

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