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Kale Pesto

Kale is a “superfood” that has become popular in recent years. It is a celebrity at both Farmer’s Markets and CSA’s and bulks up meals at very low cost. Add it to soups, stews and casseroles, blend in smoothies, sauté, use in salads, or bake into chips for a healthy snack.

Kale has several health benefits and contains vitamins A, C, K, calcium and iron; though many people are unsure on how to prepare it. This is a hearty green with lots of fiber – which is obvious once you take a bite! The rough texture and bold flavor can be intimidating, but kale can be softened by massaging with an oil or acid (like lemon juice or vinegar) or with heat through cooking.

Add kale to traditional Italian pesto sauce. Pesto can be tossed in pasta, used as a spread, dressing, or dip. Top on meat, poultry, fish, or eggs, mix in meatballs or use as a pizza sauce.

Storage and food prep:

Pesto can be made in advance and stored in the freezer.

1. Be freezer-safe. Use plastic containers, plastic zip-lock bags, or glass Mason jars. Fill up glass jars ¾ to the top so it will not crack with the liquid expansion.

2. Freeze pesto in an ice cube tray for single-serving use.

3. Freeze pesto on a ¼ inch layer on rimmed baking sheet. Cut frozen single-serving sheets and place in plastic bag. These single-serving sheets will defrost faster.

4. Freeze for up to 3 months. Refrigerate for 5-7 days

Kale Pesto recipe


  • 1 heaping cup of chopped kale leaves and stems
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • ½ Cup toasted nuts: walnuts, pine nuts, raw almonds
  • Handful of parsley and/or basil
  • 1 lemon for juice and zest
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar, optional
  • Grated parmesan cheese, optional

1. Place thick stem pieces in a small pot and fill with enough water to cover halfway. Toss in the garlic and a few pinches of salt. Simmer until they are tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Drain and let cool
3. In food processor, pulse cooked stems and leaves with some or all used garlic. Add remaining ingredients.
4. Drizzle with olive oil

Cooking Tips:

Blend an ice cube in the food processor while making pesto. It will keep the leaves cool so that they will not start to turn brown.

Roast nuts and garlic on the stovetop prior to blending. This will bring out a bolder flavor in your pesto.

Cheese goes great in pesto! Add cheese right after blending in food processor and never freeze pesto/ cheese mixture, it will alter the flavor once you defrost.