Mini-Prep No-Cheese Kale Pesto

ingredients to make a kale pesto without cheese using lemon zest, garlic, and pine nuts

Kale pesto is such an easy thing to whip up in the blender.  Usually it is made with fresh basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon and olive oil.   But I wanted to try it with everyone’s favorite superfood – kale.

And we took out the Parmesan to make it casein/dairy-free.  It turned out wonderful.  

Toss is with some gluten-free pasta and you have an easy, tasty, quick dinner!  Perfect for Meatless Monday!

Or you can make it a pasta side dish with roasted spiced chicken or herbed turkey meatballs.  I’ve also used pesto on top of a cooked chicken breast and covered with bacon based on a dish I had years ago at Kerbey Lane.  

There are so many uses for pesto.  In soups, with pasta, on toast, in salads.  Check out 50 thing to make with pesto from the Food Network.

You could always add a little basil to it as well.  Or any types of greens really.  Get creative. 

And it freezes really well, too.  So use what you need and store the rest for an easy dinner later on.

Want More Recipes Like Kale Pesto?

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Kale Pesto

Enjoy this kale pesto with gluten-free pasta for a delicious and easy Meatless Monday meal or a lovely dside dish or topping with roasted chicken.

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword kale pesto
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 2
Author Deana Larkin Evans


  • 1/3 cup pine nuts toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed
  • Lemon zest
  • 4 cups organic kale trimmed and washed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. To make the pesto, add the toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest to a food processor. Pulse until well combined.

  2. Add the kale and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides several times. Add salt and pepper.
  3. Slowly stream the olive oil while pulsing until the pesto thickens. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Deana Larkin Evans

You get one life - do your best to ENJOY IT! So hi, I'm Deana. This food blog is all about cooking wholesome real food and developing gluten-free recipes for some of our favorite comfort foods. I had to start eating gluten-free in 2010, then cut dairy and casein (except for the occasional Parmesan) in 2014. We learned A2 casein (goat, sheep and buffalo milk) is easier to digest than the predominate A1 form in cow milk. So we brought back goat milk dairy into our recipes in 2016. Thank goodness, right! So I'm kind of a science nerd, too. In the '90s, I earned an undergrad degree in biochemistry from The University of Texas at Austin. Hook 'em! Then followed up with a PhD in biochemistry and a law degree from the University of Houston. I recently earned a certificate in genomics/sequence analysis from Johns Hopkins University, where I also took a very cool food microbiology course. Currently, I'm learning about the microbiome and gut health. And trying to come up with healthy recipes to feed those gut bugs! #feedthegutbugs

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3 Responses

  1. October 23, 2014

    […] Parmesan) recipe on the blog #glutenfree #dairyfree #healthy #unprocessed #cleaneating #realfood theweeklymenubook… from Pinterest – […]

  2. December 22, 2014

    […] Saturday – Kale Pesto with Rice Noodles […]

  3. February 22, 2015

    […] #MeatlessMonday – Rice Noodles with Kale Pesto […]

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