Kale Pecan Pesto Recipe

kale pecan pesto recipe

I love pesto, but I am afraid to admit that I have never before branched out to try anything other than my beloved standard basil pesto! That changed this week with this amazingly easy Kale Pecan Pesto recipe. I think you’re going to love it as much as I did!

Are you a pesto girl? I am!

I love pesto on everything. Pasta, pizza, bread, sandwiches, you name it! But I am new to making my own pesto, and my winter-window-sill basil plant doesn’t have enough leaves to make a jar from. Plus, I have never made pesto before so I needed a beginner recipe to start with…

kale pecan pesto in a bowl with mint leaves

That is one reason I was so excited about this spring recipe swap. If you remember, my last recipe swap in the fall was a huge success, we tried and found a delicious new recipe my family had never tried before. I was hoping this swap would be successful for me too, and it was!

This kale pecan pesto with an Indian twist comes from my new blogging friend Neha from That Lazy Mama. She tried out my Honey Oatmeal Smash Cookies, and I of course made her Kale Pecan Pesto.

What drew me to this recipe was the pecans (I am ALL about pecans), and the mint leaves. It was very intriguing and something I have never tried before.

There is something so satisfying about trying a recipe that is so out of your normal menu, and finding out it is a hit. This one is seriously going down into my recipe book to be made over and over. I might have to freeze a few jars too…

kale pecan pesto on toast

In her original recipe she calls for some ingredients that I had trouble finding, so I made due with what I had. I love it when recipes still turn out great even when you have to make a few substitutions. Hopefully I will be able to try this recipe exactly how she makes it, I need to source some ingredients first!

Ingredients you will need to make Kale Pecan Pesto

  • 1 Bunch of Kale (Neha’s recipe specified Lacinato kale, but my store only had common curly kale. I still loved it)
  • 1/3 cup of pecans (These are supposed to be lightly toasted, but I totally forgot that step, oops!)
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I only had non-extra virgin olive oil on hand)
  • 4 green chilis (I could not for the life of me find regular old green chilis at my store! So I used canned ones…)
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 TBSP fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic (I used one HUGE clove instead of 3 regular cloves. It was like an inch thick!)
  • 1/2 a lemon juiced. (I used about 3 TB lemon juice)
Kale leaves on table

How To Make Kale Pecan Pesto

I made this pesto a little bit different than in the original instructions, which is okay! I really liked the end result, and I adapted it to my own kitchen.

To make the pesto, first remove the stems from the kale and blanch the leaves for about 2 minutes.

(Blanching, for those of you who don’t know, is when you boil for a short time then quickly rinse with cold water.)

Squeeze all the water you can out of the leaves. Then, throw them and everything else into a blender or food processor until it is mixed well.

kale pecan pesto in a blender

Yes, that’s it!

It was so easy and quick, recipes that are basically just “dump-and-go” are my favorite. (Like my perfectly whole wheat banana bread.)

Plus the kale and pecans are a lot cheaper than basil and pine nuts. Win, win.

Kale, I never knew I would find a way to love you. I literally can eat this pesto off a spoon, and I have been eating it on every slice of toast for the last few days (and there are many, as I am 7 months pregnant 😂).

I hope you fall in love with it as much as I did! Give it a try, even if it is outside your normal menu. You might be happily surprised like I was.

Kale Pecan Pesto in a bowl

Kale Pecan Pesto

Fast, easy, delicious and healthy pesto perfect for spreading on toast or pizza, or mixing into pastas and casseroles. Full of flavor and easy on the budget, too!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Course Condiment


  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1/3 Cup Pecans
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 oz Can Green Chilis
  • 2 TBSP Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (Or about 1/2 TBSP minced)
  • 2 TBSP Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper


  • Remove the stems from the kale. To blanch the kale, place the leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes, then promptly rinse with cold water. Squeeze out all excess water from the leaves.
  • Place the blanched kale and all other ingredients into a blender or food processor. Mix until well combined.
  • Serve immediately or keep in fridge for about one week. Flavor improves with time. Can be frozen although the texture may change a little.

Make sure to check out Neha’s blog, she has some other delicious looking recipes such as Melt-In-Your-Mouth Wedding Cookies!

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