Making Vegan pesto sauce is one refreshing way to incorporate more green leaves into our diets. Don’t you agree? This vegan pesto sauce recipe is easy, nutritious, and very delicious. Something you should try tonight! Even if you have a kale-hater in your family, this yummy pesto recipe will change that!
The original pesto flavor from pine nuts and basil are complimented perfectly by steamed kale while adding tons of nutrition to the dish.
I used half basil and half kale mix in place of basil in my usual pesto recipe. You'll likely not even notice the difference with that ratio. After that, it is really up to you to leave it chunky or a smooth paste for your pasta.
Although the traditional way of enjoying pesto is with parmesan cheese in pasta, I kept this recipe vegan by using nutritional yeast and lemon juice to replace parmesan cheese.
If you do not practice dairy-free, you can omit both the nutritional yeast and lemon juice and add ½ cup grated parmesan cheese.
Apart from the Kale addition and the dairy-free substitute, the rest of the procedure is similar to traditional pesto. You can also change the amount of oil to suit your preference for a thick or thin pesto sauce.
Best Nuts for Vegan Kale Pesto
Pine nuts are the most popular and also my favorite option for pesto. In fact, the aroma from pine nuts reminds me of pesto and nothing else. But that did not stop me from experimenting with other options. I have discovered that the pine nuts can easily be swapped for toasted almonds or toasted walnuts.
Why Steamed kale?
Steaming reduces the leafy green’s strong taste and helps it retain its bright color. Not just that, steaming helps clean leafy vegetables like Kale and spinach. Steaming also shrinks the Kale helping you in retaining the original form for Pesto and not make it too thick.
If you are allergic to Kale, swap it with Spinach, and follow the same procedure. Spinach comes close to Kale in texture and nutrition.
I don't think I even have to elaborate on the nutritional benefits of Kale. The challenge lies in making it palatable to everyone and that’s exactly what we accomplish with this recipe of vegan Kale Pesto.
By adding the leafy green to your pesto sauce, you’re getting a vitamin and antioxidant boost without sacrificing the flavor.
Pesto sauce created this way stores well in the refrigerator for up to a week. You could also freeze small portions and thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before using them.
If you are looking for an easy way to cook Kale, check out this recipe.
Ways to use kale pesto sauce
We love it with pasta, but there are many ways to enjoy them
- For pizza sauce
- Spread on sandwich or flatbread
- Mix into salad dressing
If this recipe interests you, look for similar recipes in my blog such as the kale lentil soup, How to cook kale, Tomato kale orzo
If you’ve tried this recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you liked it in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Follow me on social media Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
For more delicious vegan recipes such as this sent directly to your inbox, just subscribe to my newsletter.
Vegan Pesto sauce Recipe
- 2 cups steamed kale - stems removed
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ cup Nutritional yeast
- Salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1- 2 tablespoon water - optional
- Start by steaming the kale in a pressure cooker or stovetop.
- Strain all the excess water. Add cold water and squeeze excess water out with your hands. Set it aside.
- Place a pan over medium heat and dry roast pine nuts until you get a nice aroma and they turn crispy. Place it aside.
- In the same pan, dry roast garlic until they turn golden. However, this step is optional. You could use raw garlic too.
- Add all the ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth paste as you add the olive oil gradually. You can vary the olive oil quantity to your preference depending on how thick you like your pesto.
- You could add some water to make the recipe lower in fat, but it’s generally better tasting and longer-lasting if you use just olive oil.
- Vegan Kale Pesto sauce is ready! Use it on your favorite pasta and store the rest in a sealed container. It can last up to a week in the refrigerator.
Check above for step-by-step pictures (most of my recipes include pictures)
- For an oil-free version of this recipe, use tahini or any nut butter instead of olive oil.
- Add 2 tablespoon of any nut butter and 2 - 3 tablespoon of water, instead of oil. I would add 2 tablespoon of almond butter and 2 tablespoon of water, instead of 4 tablespoon of oil, but it’s up to you.
YOUR OWN NOTES
Nutritional information is an estimation only.
Pin this recipe for later use
There are so many great dishes I could use this kale pesto with. The consistency looks fantastic, so really excited about the recipe!
Oh now there is an unique idea I've not tried before! Sounds super delish..I love kale...now I have to try this!
Wow, this looks amazing! I think it would be great stirred in some hummus to as a dip. YUM
Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer
Oh an unique and interesting twist on traditional pesto! This sounds delicious and EASY! Thank you for sharing!
Thank you Lori. Hope you will try this soon.
This kale pesto is so good! It's the perfect way to use all the kale I have in my garden, and it's incredibly versatile.
I don't think I've ever used kale to make a pesto sauce, but I have tons in my fridge, so I'm going to have to give it a go!
My husband won't eat kale so every time I want some I always have to make something else for him. Maybe this could be the best way to make him appreciate it. He has a problem with the texture in salads, but loves a good pesto pasta!
I've been trying to eat more plant based so I can't wait to make this! Great tip on steaming Kale thanks!
What a great idea to use kale in a pesto? I'm planning to make it this week for pasta. Thanks for sharing.
What a brilliant idea to swap in some kale for a nutritional boost that nobody will even notice! And, although we're not specifically vegan and I typically go with the parmesan, I'm actually really excited to try the vegan strategy of using nutritional yeast and lemon juice as a replacement. Should cut some calories and fat, too, which is another bonus! Either way - thanks for this terrific recipe!
Thank you Shelley! Hope you will try this soon:)
This was so delicious on pasta! Loved that its vegan too!
Thank you Kathryn! You can use this for bread as a spread too 🙂
Fantastic recipe, i will pass this on to my sister as she is vegan, love the way you used nutritional yeast and lemon juice to replace parmesan cheese great idea
Thanks for sharing !!
I love kale and using it to make pesto is such a fabulous idea! I can see so many uses for this, too!
Yes right. Thinking of using it as a topping for soup as well.