Vegan Kale and Walnut Pesto by VeganChowDown.com Vegan Kale and Walnut Pesto by VeganChowDown.com I was looking for something green to use in a savory Halloween themed recipe (I’m excited to share that with you very soon!) and thought pesto would be perfect in it!  I wanted to do something a little different than the usual basil pesto and came across ones that used other greens and nuts including a kale and walnut pesto.  I happened to have half a bag of walnuts in the cupboard and needed some kale anyway so decided to try it out!  I looked at many recipes before settling on what ingredients to use and adjusted the amount to my taste. At first I was a little skeptical of the kale but it has a mild flavor that balances out perfectly with the lemon, garlic, nuts, and seasonings.

Vegan Kale and Walnut Pesto by VeganChowDown.com
The ingredients are simple: kale, walnuts, garlic, olive oil, and fresh lemon juice.  Most pesto recipes also call for Parmesan cheese.  I usually just omit it but this time I used vegan Parmesan cheese and really liked the flavor it added to it.  (If you are not a fan, go ahead and leave it out.)  The only difference between this and the basic basil pesto is that you need to blanch the kale first before blending it up which is a really quick step.

Vegan Kale and Walnut Pesto by VeganChowDown.com Vegan Kale and Walnut Pesto by VeganChowDown.com This was a fun and new way for me to eat kale and if you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it!  You can use this pesto as a dip for chips or crackers, spread on pieces of toast and sandwiches, or add to pastas.  Although I am using it as part of a Halloween inspired dish, the kale pesto and its bright green color is great on its own as part of a spooky spread too!

Tools Needed: food processor (I use a Ninja), a small 2 or 3 quart saucepan


Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: About 1 cup


  • 2 generous cups of roughly chopped kale leaves (packed into the cup)
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts
  • 1/8 cup + 1 TBS of olive oil (add more if needed for a thinner consistency)
  • 1/8 cup of vegan Parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • water and salt to blanch the kale


  1. In a small saucepan bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt. Place the kale in the pot and blanch for 1 minute. Drain, rise with cold water, and drain again.
  2. Place the kale into the food processor (try not to add any excess water that had not been drained). Add the garlic, walnuts, and vegan Parmesan, and pulse until everything is roughly chopped.
  3. Add half of the olive oil and process until the mixture is blended. Add the remaining olive oil and process until the mixture is blended.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Taste and add more juice or salt if needed.


Serve immediately or store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.


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