Can you name a more versatile sauce than pesto? (Go ahead…I’ll wait.)
But seriously, think about it. What other sauce can go with pasta, chicken, fish, shellfish, potatoes, rice, all the veggies… The list just keeps on going. Hell you can even use it as a salad dressing too if you’re feeling a little adventurous! But I think my most favorite thing about pesto is that there are soo many different ways to make it! My personal favorite? KALE PESTO!
So why kale?
- It cuts down on the amount of basil I need. (Which is good because that sh*t can get expensive!)
- It has A TON of nutritional benefits. (Lots of antioxidants, vitamins and fiber!)
- I just REALLY REALLY like kale! (Hence the name… 🙂 )
That being said, there’s also a ton of different ways you can switch up this recipe to make it fit your needs too.
- Switch up the greens: Don’t like kale? No problem! You can also replace it with spinach, arugula or even more basil. (If using basil, you’ll need 1 cup of fresh basil for this recipe.)
- Switch up the nuts: Not a fan of pine nuts? That’s ok too! Try using cashews or even almonds instead. (I would still suggest toasting these nuts though, just to give it that special “toasted” flavor. See the recipe below for instructions on toasting.)
- Thinner sauce: Some people prefer their pesto a little more on the thin side and that’s perfectly OK! If this is you, feel free to use up to 4 Tbsps of oil instead. (I only use 2 Tbsps because I love THICK pesto. 🙂 )
- Dairy Free: Maybe dairy doesn’t agree with you, or your vegan. We’ve got you covered too! Just replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast and you’ll still get the same “cheesy” flavor. (Here’s my favorite brand of nutritional yeast.)
- Paleo/Whole 30: Same as the dairy free version, just replace the parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast. (Note- if you do this, you may also need to add more lemon or salt. This just depends on your taste preference.)
Note: This recipe does make a pretty small batch, so if you have a large family, (or just love A LOT of pesto) I would definitely recommend doubling it.
But there you have babes! My favorite go-to kale pesto recipe. I hope you enjoy!
- 1/2 cup kale, chopped
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsps pine nuts, toasted*
- 2-4 Tbsps extra light virgin olive oil (depending on your preferred thickness)
- Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until you reach your desired consistency.