Basil, Walnut and Kale Pesto

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Basil, Walnut and Kale Pesto (Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free)

The Recipe: adapted from


  • 1 lb whole wheat penne noodles
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 2 c. fresh basil
  • 2 c. fresh kale
  • 3/4 c. raw, unsalted walnuts (We used salted almonds, and cut the salt)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional – we didn’t use any)
  • 1 bunch (about 10-12 stalks) asparagus, woody stalks removed and chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 20-30 cherry tomatoes, halved (or 2 medium tomatoes chopped into 1/2 inch chunks)


Start a large pot of water boiling, and cook your noodles according to the package directions. When you drain the noodles, reserve a cup or two of the water to add to the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add your onion, kale, basil, about 2/3 of the minced garlic, and walnuts and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are softened and the greens are just starting to wilt. (If you want your onion cooked very thoroughly you may want to add it a couple minutes ahead of everything else)

Once the greens and walnut mixture is ready, remove it from the pan and add it to a blender or food processor. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat and add asparagus and the rest of the garlic. Heat the asparagus for 3-6 minutes until it is softened but still somewhat crisp.

While the asparagus cooks, add water, salt, and nutritional yeast to the food processor with the cooked greens and blend until smooth.

Once your asparagus and pasta noodles are ready, combine all ingredients in a large bowl, adding the reserved pasta water to help the pesto coat the noodles. Serve warm or cold.

The verdict: Overall tasty.

I can definitely tell I’m eating fresh vegetables straight from the earth. I find that it could have used a little more salt (we left out the salt since we used salted walnuts and the recipe called for unsalted). I did add a little parmesan cheese at the end to bring out the taste a little more. I would definitely make this again, and right now Audrey and I are working on some other uses for the huge amount of pesto we have leftover.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’ night’s dinner: Pesto pita goat cheese pizzas.


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