Perfect for Fall: Lemony Kale Pesto & Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Share This:


Throughout my love affair with kale, I’ve experimented with many ways to eat this nutrient-dense, hearty green in it is raw form. Kale provides an abundance of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, selenium, copper and zinc and the vibrant green color that comes from it’s hearty, fibrous, and slightly bitter tasting leaves is stunning.

Since pesto is also beautiful hue of green, one day it dawned on me — why not make pesto out of kale? Traditional pesto is usually a raw sauce made from basil, garlic, pine nuts, and cheese. By taking the basic ingredient ratios of traditional pesto and substituting nuts and seeds in place of the cheese, you can make these varieties of kale pesto in about 10 minutes:

Lemony Kale Pesto Recipe

2 bunches curly or dino kale, with stems removed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
1 cup raw pine nuts or raw cashews
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoon lemon juice (one lemon juiced)
8 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
½ teaspoon sea salt

* Nutritional yeast is not the same as the live yeast you might use for baking. It is cultured from molasses and pasteurized to create a supplement that contains 18 amino acids (forming a complete protein) and 15 minerals. Yeast is also an excellent source of B vitamins, including B12. You can find it at Whole Foods and other healthy groceries (usually in the bulk section).

Cut the stems from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Toss the kale and the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and blend until everything is bright green and creamy.

Kale Pistachio Pumpkin Seed Pesto Recipe

1 bunch curly or dino kale
1 big (or 2 small) bunch of basil leaves
1/2 cup raw pistachios
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Juice of 1/2 lemon
8 cloves garlic
1/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Cut the stems from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Remove stems from the basil. Toss the kale and the rest of the ingredients in the food processor and blend until the ingredients are well incorporated.

Raw Pasta Primavera

Pesto is delicious on cooked pasta, as a spread on crackers or bread, or even as a topping on chicken or fish. But if you want to make a fully raw dish, try this: Use a peeler to make small ribbon-like pieces of “pasta” from a few zucchinis. Add chopped red peppers, kalamata olives, and top with your pesto.

Brigitte Center of Brigitte’s Naturally Alive is certified in plant-based nutrition from Cornell University. She teaches ‘Raw Food for Real Life’ un-cooking classes, helps people jump-start healthy eating habits with a green smoothie delivery service, and writes the blog Raw Food Living Diet.

Share This:

The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. The One Medical Group entities and 1Life Healthcare, Inc. make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.