British Kale Pesto Recipe

With the winter weather providing a plentiful harvest of curly kale we needed something more to do with it than simply boiling it to mush. A couple of weeks ago a read an article in the Watirose Weekend magazine which mentioned  making a pesto with kale but it failed to give a recipe. So, I decided to experiment.

I am not normally a fan of pesto, as I can’t eat pine nuts (allergies!!) but this one used almonds. Now before we have anyone saying ‘that’s not very British’ you are right they are not British but they are also the only nuts I can eat and are a rather important component of pesto. You could easily substitute this with British walnuts or even fabulous Kentish cobnuts.

Anyway here goes…..

You will need:

  • 5-6 large handfuls of curly kale, de-veined and roughly cut into pieces
  • Rapeseed oil (Farringdons)- enough to allow you to form a mixture
  • 2 cloves of garlic (Isle of Wight Garlic Farm)
  • A small handful of almonds skin on (or the same amount of cobnuts/walnuts)
  • 2 small handfuls of grated hard cheese (Sussex Charmer)
  • 1/2 a lemon squeezed (if you fancy it)
  • Sea Salt (Maldon)


Very simply, blend or even finely chop until all the ingredients are combined to a consistency you like. I personally prefer mine a little more chunky but Lucan is a fan of the finer blend. Once you are happy with the consistency, taste and adjust the seasoning. I found this needed a little more garlic than I thought (as kale is quite a pungent flavour) and also more lemon than I first thought.

Decant the mixture into clean jars and once almost full top with a small amount more oil. This will create an airtight seal and while your pesto won’t last forever, it will help it to last as long as possible.

I would highly recommend storing some for a week or two before opening as the flavours really do mature beautifully. Also don’t expect this to taste like pesto you are used to. While it is a pesto in its most general sense it is nothing vaguely reminiscent of that which you buy in the supermarket. It is a taste sensation all of its own and we have found a great green addition to lots of different dishes.

Enjoy 🙂

– Emily

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