Lacinato Kale Pesto - quick, easy, delicious!

Lacinato Kale Pesto is an absolutely delicious way to eat your greens. Use it like regular basil pesto—on pasta, over roasted vegetables and more!
Course Sauce
Category Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 208 kcal
Autor Elle


  • 12 Lacinato kale leaves, ribs removed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts (lightly roasted, if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan (65 g)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed (4-5 tablespoons)
  • sea salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch chili flakes (optional)


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and blanch the kale for 2 minutes.
  2. Strain and plunge kale into an bowl of ice cold water. Drain kale and squeeze excess water from it.
  3. In a food processor, combine garlic and pine nuts, lemon zest, chili (if using) and grind to a coarse paste.
  4. Add Parmesan and kale and blend until smooth.
  5. With motor still running, slowly drizzle in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Eat immediately or store in a glass jar in the fridge for about 4 days. Store pesto airtight in the refrigerator with a thin layer of olive oil over top to avoid oxidation and preserve that vibrant green color.


Tips for serving with pasta: Before you drain your pasta, reserve some of the cooking liquid. That pasta cooking water contains starches that help attach the sauce to the pasta. Toss pasta and pesto with small splashes of the cooking water until you’re satisfied with the consistency.

Make it vegan: Omit the parmesan. Substitute 2 to 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, to taste, or use vegan parmesan.

Recommended equipment: I like this Philips food processor (affiliate link). It’s affordable and does the job.