Kale-Walnut Pesto

Bag items: lactinato kale, meyer lemons, garlic, olive oil


Mmmmmm, kale!  What??  That’s not a common sentiment in your house?  Well, it’s typically not that popular in mine either, to be honest.  BUT this pesto is a pretty yummy way to get in lots of vitamins and nutrients, and it doesn’t taste very kale-y.  More like a mix of garlicky greens with a touch of lemon.  It’s also super versatile, and you can put it over roasted veggies, pasta, or make your own dip for raw veggies by combining it with some Greek yogurt for a flavorful twist on dip!

While I used lactinato, or “dinosaur” kale int his recipe, you could easily use another kind.  I think the lactinato kale has one of my favorite textures though.  It just looks so pretty!


To start, you need to blanch your kale to take off some of the bitter flavor.  To do this, bring a big pot of water to a boil, let the cleaned kale bathe in there for about 3-5 minutes, then quickly transfer it to an ice bath.  After just that one step, you’re almost done with this!  So fast and easy, perfect for a weeknight meal.

While the kale is blanching, you are going to make your own garlic-infused oil.  Whoa!  Yep, it’s also an easy one and takes just a few minutes.  Start by putting 1/2 c. olive oil in a small saucepan, and let it heat until it is shimmering, then add the garlic cloves.  Watch them carefully, as those little buggers like to burn easily.  Basically, you are achieving a roasted flavor on the garlic as well as infusing the oil with the garlic flavor.  Win-win!


Then you literally just have to toss the rest of the ingredients in the food processor, and then blend away!

Start by adding everything except the oil:


Glamor shot:



Food process away!  It will look like this:


Then slowly drizzle the garlic oil into the mixture to combine:


And voila!  Pesto!




Kale-Walnut Pesto


2 bunches lactinato kale
5 large garlic cloves
½ c olive oil
1 meyer lemon, zested then juiced
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1/3 c. walnuts
¾ tsp salt


  • Start by cleaning your kale, removing the leaves from the stems.  Discard the stems (or save for soup stock).  Then bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add the leaves for 3-5 minutes, until they darken in color.  They will retain much of their texture, so don’t be alarmed if they don’t wilt like spinach leaves do.  Then transfer quickly to an ice bath to let them cool.
  • Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan with olive oil to medium heat.  Add the whole garlic cloves and watch carefully!  They will likely take just a few minutes, depending on their size.  When they are deep brown, remove from the oil, then set the oil aside to cool.
  • Add the cooled kale and all of the other ingredients except for the oil to a food processor.  Process until you like the texture for your pesto.
  • Add the cooled oil to the food processor while it’s running, until you have the right consistency for pesto.  Some people like it more oily and smooth than others, so just do what you like best.  The amount of oil in this recipe will make it turn out on the less oily side.
  • Serve over pasta, mixed into Greek yogurt or sour cream, or on a sandwich.  Enjoy!


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