Lemon Walnut Kale Pesto

A jar of pesto with a spoon
Photo: Anna_Shepulova/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Kale is often considered a fall and winter vegetable, yet early- to mid-summer kale is a bit more tender and mild and makes for a really good, nutrition-packed pesto. Lemon Walnut Kale Pesto - Lemon brightens the flavor while the walnuts add their own taste and a nice texture. A food processor brings this pesto together quickly for pasta, pizza, salads and more. It also freezes well for later use.

Lemon Walnut Kale Pesto


  • 4 cups packed fresh kale, ribs removed
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic or 2-3 garlic scapes
  • 14 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1312 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese (omit if vegan)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. In food processor, pulse-chop the walnuts until coarse fine (not ground fine.) Remove walnuts from processor bowl and set aside in small- to medium-size mixing bowl.
  2. Add kale, lemon, garlic and salt to processor bowl and run until finely chopped and blended.
  3. With processor running, slowly pour enough olive oil in to blend well and reach desired consistency.
  4. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl and process an additional 20 to 30 seconds.
  5. Use spatula to remove kale mix from processor bowl, adding to walnuts in their bowl. Fold in cheese and some ground pepper. Adjust to taste if you prefer more lemon.
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KC Wright
KC Wright, MS, RDN, gardens, cooks, educates and writes based on her clinical nutrition, academic and research experience. She advocates for healthy lifestyles and sustainable food systems with recipes from her blog at wildberrycommunications.com. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.