Kale-Basil Pesto

This fall-forward pesto bolsters traditional basil with lacinato kale for extra heartiness. Winemaker Clare Carver recommends choosing a mild, smooth extra-virgin olive oil here for a buttery richness that complements the toasted walnuts and balances the fresh garlic. Try this pesto with your favorite pasta, or serve it as an appetizer as Carver did at her Harvest Feast at Big Table Farm, on toasted baguette slices.

Kale Basil Pesto
Photo: Erin Kunkel
Total Time:
15 mins
2 cups


  • 4 cups stemmed and sliced lacinato kale leaves

  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

  • 3/4 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • Toasted baguette slices, for serving


  1. Combine kale, basil, walnuts, 1/4 cup oil, garlic, and salt in a food processor; process until a finely chopped paste forms, about 30 seconds, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in lemon zest and juice and remaining 1/2 cup oil until combined. Serve with baguette slices.

Make Ahead

Pesto may be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 3 days.

Related Articles