Loaded with fresh ingredients, this Easy Vegan Kale Pesto is just right for adding a bit of brightness into your day! Kale, fresh lemon juice, savory pine nuts and flavorful garlic combine in the food processor for a perfect topping to pasta, toast or veggies.
I'll be the first to admit it: I am totally hooked on great sauces! Any time I'm making food, whether it's a homemade dinner or reheated leftovers, I reach for a sauce to add another layer of flavor and yummy taste. This Vegan Kale Pesto is a current favorite! It's so, so good tossed into a bowl of pasta or spaghetti squash, but we also love it on toast, stirred into soup or for dipping with veggies.
Ingredients in Vegan Kale Pesto
This is a really traditional, classic pesto ingredient list with the addition of kale. You'll quickly see just how bright, herbaceous and flavorful this sauce really is. It's lemony and perfect for springtime...or when you need that springtime feeling!
- Kale - Use any kind of kale you like for this recipe! You can use Lacinato, or dinosaur, kale for a subtler, slightly less bitter flavor.
- Raw pine nuts - Pesto is perfect thanks to pine nuts! I love their soft, nutty flavor, and they add a really lovely creaminess to this Kale Pesto.
- Lemon - I like to find the biggest, juiciest lemons possible! Start with half of a lemon, then add more to taste if you like a bit more citrus bite in your pesto. It cuts the flavor of the kale so don't skip it.
- Garlic - I put two in the recipe card, but I'm a total garlic lover so I actually use three! If you want to take the garlic flavor out of this world, try using Perfectly Roasted Garlic.
- Salt - Start with just a sprinkle of salt, then taste and adjust to your preference.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Use a good quality olive oil in this recipe. My favorite olive oil comes from Pomora! I get regular shipments and I'm always so impressed by the flavor and quality. Use my code EBE25 for a discount!
- Fresh basil - This is optional, but basil is never a bad idea in pesto! We recently started a veggie/herb garden and we get so excited when we have fresh herbs to use for dinner.
All About Kale
Kale is SO, so good for you! I'm always trying to find ways to incorporate more of it into my diet. Kale is low in calories and provides plant-based iron, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, fiber and loads of antioxidants. One cup of kale contains well over 20% of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins A and C. For a crunchier, salty kale recipe, try my Crispy Kale Chips!
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More Pesto Recipes
Who doesn't love a good pesto?! This fresh, flavorful condiment is so good tossed into pasta, but we also put it on toast or drizzle it over roasted veggies for a splash of color and burst of flavor. Here are a couple other ways I make plant-based pestos!
My Favorite Gluten-Free Pasta
I really, really love pasta! It's my favorite way to make an easy weeknight dinner that everyone in my house digs right into. My favorite gluten-free pasta brands are Jovial and Andean Dream. If you don't like the first gluten-free pasta you try, keep trying! Once you find one you love you'll never look back. If you're tossing this pesto into pasta, I recommend reserving a bit of the starchy, thick pasta cooking water and adding a bit back in to make the dish extra creamy. We also love to serve it over my Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash!
This Easy Vegan Kale Pesto is vegan (no dairy!), gluten-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free....plus Whole30, paleo and raw! It's made with all-natural ingredients that you can feel great about. If you make a batch, please tag me on Instagram so I can cheer you on! Please also leave a review below to help other home cooks find this yummy, flavorful sauce.
More Sauces & Dips
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- Roasted Veggie Tomato Sauce for Pasta
- Quick & Easy Creamy Hummus
- Easy Creamy Vegan Pasta Sauce (paleo)
- Chermoula Sauce
- Easy Dye-Free Green Hummus
- Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
- Easy Paleo Zucchini "Hummus" (no chickpeas)
- Jalapeno Chimichurri Sauce
- Vegan Tzatziki Sauce
Loaded with fresh ingredients, this Easy Vegan Kale Pesto is just right for adding a bit of brightness into your day!
- 2 cups kale, thick stems removed
- ⅓ cup raw pine nuts
- ½ lemon, juiced (or more to taste)
- 2 large cloves garlic (or 3 if you are a garlic lover like me!)
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup filtered water
- optional: 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- Add fresh kale, pine nuts, lemon, garlic, and salt to a 7-cup food processor. Turn on the motor and slowly stream in the oil while the motor is still running. Next, add in the water while the motor is running.
- Remove top and taste. Adjust flavor and texture to taste if desired. You may want to add more lemon juice or garlic to balance out the flavor of the kale. You can also add fresh basil to help mask the flavor of the kale if it is potent to you.
- Scrape down the sides to process again if needed.
- Use immediately overtop pasta, spaghetti squash, pizza or grilled or roasted veggies, in wraps or sandwiches, or stirred into soup!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to one week. Pesto sauce will thicken slightly after being stored. Allow to sit at room temperature to allow the oil to liquify before using. You can also freeze this pesto for up to 3 months (leaving room at the top of the airtight container for expansion).
When I add the pesto to pasta I reserve the pasta water and add that to the sauce to make the pesto sauce extra creamy.
- Prep Time: 5
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Food Processor
Keywords: vegan kale pesto