Foodist Approved: Kale Hazelnut Pesto

by | Apr 16, 2014
Kale Hazelnut Pesto

Kale Hazelnut Pesto

Now that I’m in the homestretch of pregnancy, I’ve had a lot less desire to spend my evenings standing in the kitchen, chopping onions. Lucky for me my husband, Andy, has stepped up to don the apron. And lucky for him I stockpiled the freezer with homemade pesto.

Pesto is a bright accompaniment to many dishes. It’s quick and easy to make, and it stores well for dishes at a later date. Of course, this recipe isn’t for your average, run-of-the-mill pesto. I’ve upped the health factor by packing in nuts, basil, kale and miso.

Miso in pesto might sound odd (any Italian would definitely freak out), but it adds that fabulous salty, cheesy flavor that you want in a pesto. In fact, to make this recipe vegan you could leave out the parmesan entirely and add a little more miso to taste.

The recipe below makes enough to indulge in now, and plenty more to freeze for later. The possibilities are endless: serve on top of vegetables, chicken or fish. Spread on crostini or toss into pasta or oven-roasted potatoes. In the coming weeks, I’ll share with you more inspiration for pesto, so go ahead and make a double batch!

Kale Hazelnut Pesto

  • 1 cup hazelnuts or walnuts, toasted
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup packed kale, stems removed
  • 4 ounces parmesan
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons mellow miso, yellow or white

Combine the hazelnuts, basil, and kale in a food processor or professional blender and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add the parmesan, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and miso and process until smooth.

Refrigerate for up to 5 days until ready to use or store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Elyse Kopecky is a social media and digital technology consultant based in Portland, OR. After 10 years working for NIKE and EA SPORTS in Portland, Amsterdam and Geneva she briefly left her desk job for the chance to study culinary nutrition at the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC. Follow her adventures in the kitchen and on the trail at and @freshabits.

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9 Responses to “Foodist Approved: Kale Hazelnut Pesto”

  1. Ashlie says:

    I can attest to how delicious this pesto is. My little one and I stopped by to say hi and Elyse offered this up with some fresh grand central bread. And as an Italian I can say the miso did add a little salty component that I personally like. Well done!

    • Hi Ashlie ~ Thx for sharing your first hand experience! Now go make it for Eric. 🙂 Andy loves this pesto tossed into pasta with sautéed onions, zucchini and smoked salmon or chicken.

  2. Kate says:

    You had me at hazelnuts!

  3. Darren says:

    Can’t wait to try this recipe! I eat so much kale either in smoothies I make at home or added to a large, mixed salad for dinner. This is a great alternative to basil which (at least in canada) is only great to use for pesto in late August when you can get it fresh and I expensively in huge bunches.

  4. Karissa says:

    Any suggestions for substitutions for the nuts for those with nut allergies? It looks amazing, but we can’t have nuts in my household. Ideas?

  5. Steve says:

    Hi there I have just discovered this web site and this recipe sounds fab. What I really need to know is what is Mizo and where to get it from.

  6. Trisha says:

    Any substitution for Parmesan?

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