Vegan Pesto - BASICS Recipe


This recipe was developed by Quabbin Harvest board member Cristina Garcia. This pesto is made with ingredients that are part of our BASICS program, which offers pantry staples at very affordable prices. 


Vegan Pesto

Feed your family the BASICS

Cost at Quabbin Harvest: Only 35 cents per serving!

While this recipe is great without any basil, feel free to substitute fresh packed basil for some of the kale. Great on pasta, grilled veg and meats. Mix with chopped up canned artichoke hearts for a delicious sandwich spread. Freeze leftovers in ice trays.


Yield: 24 2-tablespoon servings (3 cups total)


12 oz kale (about ½ bunch)

2 cloves garlic

¾ cup (4oz) pepitas

¾ teaspoon salt

1 ½ tablespoon white miso OR  ¼ cup grated Parmesan

3 tablespoons lemon juice (approx. yield from 1 lemon) 1- 1 ¼ cup safflower or other neutral (light colored) oil*


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Strip kale off stems and tear into large pieces. Blanch kale - this means a quick dunk into the boiling water (about 45 seconds), followed by a quick cooling with either cold running water or a bowl of ice water. The quick cooling stops the cooking and locks in vibrant color. Ring out as much water as possible.


Blend all ingredients and about a third of the oil in a food processor or blender to a thick puree. Drizzle in the remaining oil.




Finely chop blanched kale and pepitas. In batches, with a mortar and pestle work all ingredients to desired consistency.


*Blending extra virgin olive oil makes it taste bitter. If you’d like, you can use a neutral oil to blend and gently stir in a bit of extra virgin olive oil at the end.


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