kale and pumpkin seed pesto recipe {vegan}

kale + pumpkin seed pesto {vegan}

Our kale plants are still just little baby seedlings, but thankfully there's a weekend market not far from here where I can pick up beautiful bunches of organic kale for only a few dollars. Kye is a little obsessed with the stuff and as I'm washing it he will often sneak up behind me and steal and few stems to munch on. The green juice running down his chin kinda gives it away...

We get through a good few bunches a week, using it in salads, curries and stir-frys, or to make the kids favourite salt and vinegar kale chips. But when I've exhausted all my usual ideas and there's still too much left to eat before it goes yuk, one needs to come up with new ideas that use up lots of kale, quick smart... hello pesto.

kale + pumpkin seed pesto {vegan}A

A whole bunch of kale can quickly be turned into a gorgeously green pesto, flecked with toasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds, a touch of coriander (cilantro) and chilli if you so desire. If I'm making it knowing the kids will be eating it I leave these out, but if I'm being greedy... I put them in, that way only I get to eat it. Naughty mum, I know.

As with any pesto this is wonderful stirred through cooked pasta, smeared onto toast, swirled through a bowlful of steaming hot soup or vegetable stew, or thinned down with a little extra lemon juice and olive oil and used as a wonderful dressing.

kale + pumpkin seed pesto {vegan}

kale and pumpkin seed pesto
I like to use the leaves and stalks of coriander in my pesto, just chop up the stalks a little. By all means, use just the leaves if preferred. I've only come across white miso that's made with rice, but some miso pastes are fermented with wheat or barley, so double-check the ingredients if you are gluten-free.
makes 2 cups

1 bunch of kale (approx 250-300g), washed well, spun dry and hard stems removed
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup (125g) lightly toasted pumpkin (pepita) seeds
1 cup of loosely packed coriander (cilantro) leaves and stalks, chopped
1-2 green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped, optional
3/4 cup (185ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 tablespoon white miso (gluten-free)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Place kale, garlic, pumpkin seeds, coriander and green chillies, if using, into a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, you may need to stop it occasionally to scrape down the sides or move things around a little to get it all going. With the motor still running, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Lastly add the lemon juice and miso, give it one final whiz, taste and season with sea salt and black pepper. If not using straight away pack into a clean glass jar, cover with a thin film of olive oil and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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  • Reply
    jas - the gluten free scallywag
    May 3, 2012 at 6:23 am

    mmmm this sounds delicious, got to get my hands on some kale and white miso now!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Loving kale & pepitas right now! I've baked, steamed and eaten kale raw- but never in a pesto! Sounds perfect. Aw the baby kale is so cute, how rewarding it will be when you can cook with it 🙂 x

    • Reply
      May 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

      For sure, just hoping the bugs don't get too it before we do this year. They love it as much as we do 🙁

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef
    May 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Great idea with the miso, yummo!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Oh Emm! Pure genius again! I hadn't thought of seeds instead of pine nuts (duh!) so pesto is always just for mum and dad here. Will be scouring the market for Kale this weekend 🙂

  • Reply
    E.L. Rosen
    May 4, 2012 at 1:40 am

    This is an inventive way to use kale. Really cool idea. Readers who must be strictly gluten-free should just check to make sure their white miso does not contain barley (it often does). Can't wait to try it!

    And congrats on your recognition from Saveur!

    • Reply
      May 4, 2012 at 6:41 am

      Hey thanks for that! Good call on double checking the miso. I've only ever come across white miso that's made with rice not barley, but I will add that above in the recipe, thanks heaps 🙂

  • Reply
    May 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

    I just made this and it was good. I did use tuscan kale though.I planned to make a few things tonight but made this pesto and ran out of steam. I poured myself a wine and had the pesto with some broad beans (frozen) and left over brown rice. It did the trick.
    My garden is full of kale. The bugs made a mess of it for a few weeks and I gave up on it but then the bugs just disappeared and it started thriving.

    • Reply
      May 4, 2012 at 11:44 am

      Oh yum, I love tuscan kale. Stoked the bugs left your kale alone! I always struggle with them, especially those damn whitefly.

  • Reply
    May 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I love kale and I don't see it often enough here, great that you have made it into a pesto I can imagine the flavour from it.

    • Reply
      May 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Yeah back home in NZ the only way I could get my hands on it was to grow my own…

  • Reply
    Christina @ The Hungry Australian
    May 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Wow this looks amazing. I've never tried cooking with kale before, let alone making pesto. I've seen it popping up everywhere lately though, so perhaps that's a sign that the time has come to cook it 😉

    • Reply
      May 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Go on 🙂

  • Reply
    Happy Cook / Finla
    May 6, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Wow love this pesto which looks super yumm i have only made them with basil,love your choise of green and seeds

  • Reply
    May 7, 2012 at 1:24 am

    I came over to visit from the kitchen's garden and what a brilliant idea this is, and one I will use for sure the next time I have a plethora of kale. I can't wait to taste some of this pesto on pasta! ~Betsy

    • Reply
      May 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

      Welcome Betsy, it's super good on pasta 🙂

  • Reply
    Hotly Spiced
    May 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Hi, I was introduced to your blog by The Kitchen's Garden and the wonderful C. How wonderful to be growing your own kale. Recently I have been hearing how special kale is and how it is one of the new 'super-foods'. I really should grow some myself xx

    • Reply
      May 7, 2012 at 11:54 am

      How kind is C to say such kind things about my blog on her last post. We've been growing kale for quite a few years now, but I'm still trying to find ways to stop the whitefly from calling it home! I'm not such a fan of eating bugs 😉

  • Reply
    Mairi @ Toast
    May 20, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Love! I will most definitely be gavin this on some pasta very soon. I am loving all the winter greens coming in to season & this is a great new way to use some of them up. Thanks Emma

  • Reply
    July 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Yum!! I just made this and it was delicious. I was a little bit sceptical as it was quite bitter, but after the addition of white miso and lemon it transformed. Genius combination. I made a bunch of different dishes for a dinner party: quinoa and roasted tomatoes (your recipe), Israeli couscous salad with parsley and walnuts, grilled zuchinni and green beans with tahini dressing and coconut strawberry/rhubarb crumble.

    • Reply
      July 26, 2013 at 2:58 am

      So glad to hear you liked it Julie! Your feast sounded amazing 🙂

  • Reply
    July 29, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    I'm one of those people who cannot stand coriander – what would you suggest as a replacement ingredient?

    • Reply
      July 30, 2013 at 3:58 am

      I'd just use some flat leaf parsley or maybe even a little mint instead. Or simply leave out, no biggy xx

    • Reply
      March 21, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      or basil! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 26, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    The combination of story-telling and pictures gave off a very personal feel. The recipe looks delicious.

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