5 Minute Kale Pesto Recipe - Skillful Cook
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5 Minute Kale Pesto

34 reviews / 4.7 average

ooooh that kale pesto, I'm tellin ya. 💋

I know it sounds like the most crazy thing. First of all, KALE. Annnnd already we've lost about half.

But I don't stop there. No, I go right on ahead and make this a VEGAN kale pesto, and I'm left with, like, three blog readers.

This isn't a vegan food blog, although I should say that most of our people here are regular-grocery-store-shopping, real-food-eating individuals who like anything from saucy chicken to down home casseroles (😱) to chocolate peanut butter everything to - yes - the occasional plant-based meal. But Vegan Kale Pesto? I might be pushing my luck with this.

Also: I might be pushing my luck by embracing this, 2015, the year of the fast and easy, flavor-bomb green sauces.

5 Minute Magic Green Sauce

5 Minute Avocado Cilantro Dressing

and now, this: our 5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto.

What can I say? I like to live on the edge.

5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto - made with almonds, olive oil, kale, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Less than 150 calories per serving! | skillfulcook.us

This vegan kale pesto takes, just guess — 5 minutes. Or less, even. 🎉

It's so speedy-quick, which is awesome because it belongs on a few other recipes - such as this easy cheesy cauliflower soup, and that breakfast pizza that isn't a post yet but give me a few days - and having the pesto for these and any other recipes already prepared and done in two and a half winks is a plain and simple lifesaver. Your complete recipes come together in a snap and your food life becomes fun, delicious, easy.

You don't have to put this in a recipe, though. I mean, I'm just saying that adding a few spoonfuls to scrambled eggs with goat cheese (!!!!) or spreading it on crackers with slices of Manchego or Parmesan would be totally, absolutely wonderful. <- (understatement)

At this point I've gotten you three vegan enthusiasts all excited and then totally offended you by offering them eggs, goat cheese, and Parmesan. Forgive? Sometimes I just... it's like... I don't even... yeah.

Bottom line! Make this pesto and put it on things and adore it with all your veggie-loving heart plz thank you goodbye the end.

5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto - made with almonds, olive oil, kale, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Less than 150 calories per serving! | skillfulcook.us
5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto - made with almonds, olive oil, kale, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Less than 150 calories per serving! | skillfulcook.us
5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto - made with almonds, olive oil, kale, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Less than 150 calories per serving! | skillfulcook.us
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Kale Pesto in a jar with spoon.

5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: about 1 cup - 8 servings, 2 tablespoons each 1x


5 Minute Vegan Kale Pesto - made with almonds, olive oil, kale, garlic, salt, and lemon juice. Less than 150 calories per serving!


  • 2 cups torn kale (no stems) and parsley, combined
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup raw almonds


  1. Pulse the kale, oilve oil, salt, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Add the almonds and pulse until the almonds are ground to desired consistency.
  3. Serve with pizza, pasta, crackers, eggs, salads, soup, sandwiches, etc.


I ended up using about 1 1/2 cups kale + 1/2 cup parsley. But I've made this many times with just about any combination of greens, whether JUST kale, kale and spinach, kale and other herbs... it is a very flexible recipe so adjust the ingredients and quantities depending on what you have on hand. A traditional pesto flavor profile would include basil, but when I made it with basil, I didn't really love it. Go figure. Just make it however you like is what I'm saying here.

If you don't want this to be vegan, no probs. Just add a handful of Parmesan into the mix and YUM.

Also really really really delicious = using spicy almonds. I just bought some from a co-op that were already seasoned and spiced and used them in place of the raw almonds.

  • Prep Time: 3 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: kale pesto, vegan kale pesto

PS. Somehow in the flurry of vegan kale pesto I forgot to mention that we are Food Blog University conferencing it up in Mexico right now?! I'm writing this from my very lovely hotel room, looking out the window at the ocean, with Bjork sleeping soundly on the other side of the room. He's going to not like me for saying that but sometimes you have to drop these little statements here and there just to see if your people are reading these things, right?

For my fellow travel photo lovers, I am sharing our Mexico travel updates on Snapchat! Like just about everything we're eating (ohmygosh) plus ocean views and a few Mexico selfies. Like we do. 🌴

PS. I used my food processor for this recipe - and I love it so much that I wrote this post showing off 12 Magical Ways To Use A Food Processor! ✨ I loooove that thing.

12 Magical Ways to Use a Food Processor

One More Thing!

19 sauces that make everything better.

This recipe is part of our Sauces That Make Everything Better roundup. Check it out!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am a total meat-eating, dairy-loving, regular-grocery-store-shopping individual but for whatever reason, any time I come across vegan recipes or vegan dishes at restaurants, my little non-vegan heart gets really excited. I don’t even know. So this post speaks to me. And I’m so into this kale pesto recipe!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    I think no matter how you eat, we can all agree that pesto is heavenlyyyyy. Oh, and kale pesto is also delicious in hummus! Trust me, I have a recipe on my blog for it 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      You almost lost me at the kale bit, but you already know that. But then you said pesto and I got all excited. Ok, I have loads of kale growing in my garden (actually almost rotting at the point) because I refuse to eat it. This is embarrassing as a gardener so I need to make this for my self esteem. Enjoy Mexico. I’ll go to the basement right now to get my Mexican party hat and we can fiesta (or is it siesta?) Make it a siesta together. Nap on.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    (waves enthusiastically) I’m still here!! I’m a casserole-loving-cookie-eating-pro-flavor-bomb-veggie-sauce-reader, so this is right up my alley 😀

    Shout out to all the Twin Cities Co-ops, and their fabulous bulk sections.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t eat cheese, though I’m not a vegan, and I make kale pesto all the time, too! I usually do a mix of kale and basil, so it’s not super basil-y or kale-y. I’ve done it with both almonds and walnuts and it’s great either way. Love it!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    My grandson loves a grilled cheese with kale pesto. We use basil in place of parsley and walnuts in place of the almonds. I’ll try the parsley and almond route next time. We always have a batch in the fridge since it’s about the only vegetable so far he likes. Yes, I do consider it a serving of vegetable. 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      That sounds amazing “grill cheese with pesto” I’m doing your pesto recipe with smoke almonds for dinner tonight.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    You had my attention at the word pesto. As a girl who loves her condiments, this bright green kale dotted pesto speaks to me.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi! I LOOOOOVE all of your sauces and pestos and such. Any chance you could add a “SAUCES” Tab? I often come back to your site to get the recipe for the Magic Green sauce and the Cashew sauce to add to random meals, and have to dig to find them… 🙂 Just a random suggestion/request.


    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      yes! I mean this is a sauce-heavy blog after all… we are in a redesign process and I will try to remember to recategorize those!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love kale pesto- I make a big batch whenever we can’t work our way through all the kale and then freeze it. It’s so much cheaper than herb pesto and it’s way tasty. Enjoy Mexico!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    This kale pesto looks delicious. I have all of these ingredients on hand right now, pretty sure I’m making this in the next day or too! I love the idea of adding it to scrambled eggs because sometimes scrambled eggs get boring and need a little something extra! Yum!

    Enjoy your time in Mexico. I am enjoying the snapchats, and living vicariously through you. Ha! 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Emily! 🙂 Hope you saw Bjork’s snapchat takeover the other day… that was the funniest snapped part of the whole trip.

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love my meat but I also love vegan recipes since I’m mostly dairy free. This looks amazing! I have been loving sauces and dips lately!! Can’t wait to make this.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay,
    I’m one of your 3 vegans and this pesto sounds absolutely delicious. I was just considering next week’s dinner (I’m an ahead-planner) and this may just be what I want to have with gnocchi.
    Thank you and all the best from colourful, autumnal Austria,

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yay Alice! Glad you can still handle us even though we only do vegan-type recipes some of the time. 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am so still with you!! I JUST made a raw kale pesto for the first time the other day with a bunch of cilantro, a couple of spring onions, and a tiny bit of pecorino and it was delicious (my fiancé liked it, too!). I love how yours has almonds!