lacinato kale

Tuscan Kale and Walnut Pesto

Course Ingredients
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale
  • ¼ cup walnuts or pecans
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese


  1. Halve the onion, end to end, and cut in thin slices. Roughly chop the garlic. Heat ¼ cup of the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Saute the onion over medium-high heat until it softens and turns golden brown, about 15 minutes; reduce the heat if there seems to be a danger of burning. Stir in half of the garlic during the last few minutes of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, fill a large saucepan about two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil. Strip off the kale leaves, discarding the stems. Shred by cutting crosswise with a large knife (you should have about 8 packed cups). Add the kale to the boiling water and cook until wilted and tender, 3 to 5 minutes (depending on the size and freshness of the kale). Drain and cool.
  3. Combine the kale, onions and garlic, the remaining raw garlic, walnuts, salt, pepper and remaining ¾ cup olive oil in a food processor bowl.  Puree until the mixture is homogeneous but the texture is slightly chunky.
  4. Scrape the pesto into a bowl. With a spatula, fold in the cheese. Chill or freeze any of the pesto you don't use immediately.