Kale Pesto (raw, vegan, paleo)

This kale pesto is packed full of flavor, antioxidants, and even offers some plant based protein. It’s a nutritional powerhouse disguised as a crave-worthy pesto sauce. I love to use this kale pesto as a pizza sauce on my low carb pizza, stirred into a bowl of spaghetti squash pasta, or as a dip for crackers and veggies. Get ready, because in just 10 minutes you can be on a nutrient dense trip to flavor town!

Kale Pesto - raw - vegan - paleo recipe http://www.forestandfauna.com/

Kale Pesto (raw, vegan, paleo)

A flavor packed nutrient dense kale and basil pesto to kick your dinner up a notch!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Andrea Wyckoff


  • 3 cups fresh kale remove stems
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • small pinch of sea salt
  • 1/3 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds AIP: use 1/4 cup tiger nut flour


  1. If you aren't crazy about garlic, then reduce to 1 clove. I like a punch of garlic in my pesto!
  2. Rinse kale and basil and shake dry. I slice the kale leaves off the stems and then rip the leaves into pieces. I also remove the basil leaves from the stems. Discard stems.
  3. Blend ingredients together in a food processor. I have also used my immersion blender in a bowl when I didn't feel like having to rinse out the food processor. If using an immersion blender just keep the top of the bowl mostly covered to avoid having seeds fly all over the kitchen when you first start blending. Ask me how I know this!
  4. If you need to add more oil to get a creamier pesto, feel free to drizzle in a little more.
  5. Use as a pizza sauce on my low carb pizza recipe, as a sauce over spaghetti squash or noodles, or as a dip for crackers and veggies.

Recipe Notes

I like to go very light on the sea salt in this base pesto recipe so the salt can be adjusted to taste depending on whether it's used on a pizza, with pasta, or as a dip. If using as a stand alone dip then I do add a good sized pinch.
This recipe will work fine if you want to omit the seeds.
You can also add in a 1/4 cup of hard sheep's cheese like pecorino, if you do add a salty hard cheese, be sure to omit the sea salt.

Estimated nutrition data below for kale pesto based on using pumpkin seeds and making 8 servings. 


Shared at: Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable + Real Food Friday + Simply Natural Saturday + Allergy Free Wednesday + The Alder Collective


11 thoughts on “Kale Pesto (raw, vegan, paleo)

  1. Mmmmm. We love a kale pesto at our house too, all the ways you mentioned. Yours looks really good! One thing, though. You say to discard the stems. So many nutrients in those. I add them to my freezer bowl for making veggie soup stock. No way I’m throwing away all that goodness!

    1. Yes, often times when I say “discard”, I simply mean do whatever you want with the extra, but it’s best not to include it in the actual recipe. Sounds like freezing them works well in your kitchen, and that’s great!

      I have always believed the leaves to be more nutrient dense, but even more important for someone like me who used to suffer from severe IBD, I still find my digestion is much happier when I just eat the kale leaves, especially if talking about eating kale in “raw” form like this pesto, as the fiber in the raw kale stalks is a too hard on my system, (but thankfully my body does fabulous with many other plant based forms of fiber!) Plus I find the texture of this pesto is so creamy when the larger stalks are removed.

      Cheers to doing what works best for your body!!


  2. We don’t care for the stalks in most things either. Quite often they’re too fibrous. That’s why I put them in my freezer bowl and use them for soup stock. It makes sense that the dark green leaves would have more nutrients than the lighter green stalk, but I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Thanks for that information!

  3. Could you omit the seeds and the tiger nut flour? I’m AIP so no seeds for me (although once/if I’m able to have seeds, I will definitely be making with pumpkin seeds!! Yum!) I just don’t care for tiger nut flour.

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