Super Delicious Vegan Kale Pesto (Easy Recipe)

1 cup
Total Time:
Jump to Recipeclose up of kale pesto

Kale pesto is a great way to get in all your greens in a delicious way. The depth of flavor this easy pesto can bring to a dish is a great simple way to up your weeknight meals.

Last year I grew kale in the garden and when it was time to pull it, I had more than I knew what to do with. I knew I couldn’t eat that many kale salads. Instead I experimented with making kale pesto. I tried with different types of nuts and herbs.

The recipe that I liked the best was this vegan kale pesto recipe using kale, parsley, garlic, and pumpkin seeds. Instead of using parmesan I used nutritional yeast to give it that rich flavor. You can easily swap the nutritional yeast for parmesan cheese if you’d prefer.

How to make kale pesto?

The process of making kale pesto is very simple. The beauty of pesto is you just throw everything in to a food processor and blend. I start with the nuts and garlic to make sure those are chopped finely. Then I add the kale, parsley, nutritional yeast, lemon, and salt. It will look like a lot, but the kale breaks down quite a bit when blended. Once all of that starts to break down I add in the olive oil and water.

If you like your pesto thinner, mix it a little longer and add extra olive oil or water.

Kale pesto ingredients.

How to store kale pesto?

If you are going to use your pesto within a week, I would store it in a sealed container such as a mason jar and place in the fridge.

If you want to store it longer term, you will want to place it in containers and freeze them. You could probably can the pesto as well but I have not tried that method.

To freeze, fill an 8 ounce mason jars with the pesto, cover, and placed them in the freezer. You could also add them to a ziplock bag, make sure there is no air in them and freeze them flat. Another option is to use an ice cube tray. Just add the kale to a an ice cube tray, freeze, and then pop them out and store in a freezer bag.

When I froze my pesto, I used them all within 6 months and they were still delicious! When you are ready to use them place them in the fridge for about 1 day to defrost.

Tips to make the best kale pesto

  • Make a double batch if you are cooking for a group or to save some for later. This recipe makes about 1 cup. I love to make a double batch and use 1 cup for dinner and place the other cup in a jar and freeze for later.
  • Make sure to taste and adjust along the way. Depending on the type of nuts, how big the garlic clove is, or the type of kale you choose the texture of the pesto may be slightly different. It's important to taste and add more salt or lemon if needed. You might want to blend a little longer or even add in some extra olive oil or water to smooth it out.
  • Feel free to switch up the herbs if you prefer. This recipe calls for fresh parsley but you could also use fresh basil instead.
  • You can also switch up the nuts. I call for pumpkin seed or pine nuts but sunflower seeds also work great. You just want to get that nutty flavor from some where. you could possible try walnuts as well, but I have not done that with this recipe.

How to use kale pesto?

There are so many ways you can use kale pesto. Even if you are using a vegan pesto you can really swap it out in any recipe that calls for pesto. Just having some extra pesto on hand makes for a great way to have a delicious meal. Here are a few of my favorites.

  1. Toss with your favorite pasta
  2. Spread on toast with an egg
  3. Mix with quinoa and top with roasted veggies

Recipes that use this simple vegan kale pesto recipe

You can really use this pesto however you see fit but if you are looking fro recipe ideas here are a few different ways I love to use this easy vegan kale pesto.

Kale pesto gnocchi on a plate.

If you are looking for a more classic pesto recipe check out this post where I make a classic basil pesto with three variations using different type of nuts.

Super Delicious Vegan Kale Pesto (Easy Recipe)

5 stars4 stars
1 cup
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:


  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 cups (55g) packed kale (I like curly kale but you can use any kind of kale you have)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley or fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-4 tbsp water
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • few grinds of black pepper


  1. Add the pumpkin seed and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.
  2. Add in kale, parsley, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Blend until everything is finely chopped. You might need to scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure everything is mixed.
  3. Pour in the olive oil and water while the food processor is running.
  4. Taste and adjust as needed. You can add more salt or lemon at this point. Also, if you want a thinner pesto, you can add more olive oil or water.
  5. Use right away, store in the fridge for 1 week, or freeze and use within 6 months.


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