Nut-free Kale & Basil Pesto {Recipe ReDux}

This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is “Grab a Book & Cook.”

It’s the end of the year and we’ll take a moment to reflect: ReDux has been around for 42 months! To celebrate, we’re playing a little party game this month: Grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 42 or 142. We can’t wait to see the books you’re cooking from these days–and how you make that recipe healthier.

I love cookbooks. You could even say I hoard cookbooks. And, I especially enjoy ones with mouth-watering photos.

NF_Pesto_best_no spoon_12 14

A few years ago, I won a Vitamix (yes, everything you’ve heard about this blender is true), and I’ve been trying to use this magic little blender for more than just smoothies. So, I’ve had the Vitamix cookbook, Create: Inspiring recipes for every day of the week, on my counter for weeks. After reading this month’s theme, I picked up the cookbook and flipped to page 142: Kale and Basil Pesto.

Kismet? Probably not. But, I was nonetheless excited to see this recipe because–as an adult–I have grown to love pesto, and I have been craving it lately. Alas, prepared pesto contains pine nuts (a no-no in our house since my daughter’s tree nut allergy diagnosis earlier this year). And, I just haven’t had a chance to create my own sans nuts version.

Until now…

NF_Pesto_ingredients_12 14_final

This Nut-free Kale & Basil Pesto is delicious and mildly reminiscent of spring. Deep green, fresh and garlicky, this pesto imparts just the right creamy-to-crunchy ratio. To amp up the nutrition factor (and lower the calories), I added some white beans and used a little less olive oil and Parmesan cheese than the original cookbook recipe calls for. I ate a little right away, and froze most of it for later (see freezing tips below). Bon appetit!

NF_Pesto_best_12 14_final

Nut-free Kale & Basil Pesto {Recipe ReDux}


  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 2 cups kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup white beans, drained and rinsed


  1. Place all ingredients in blender. Blend until well-mixed and desired consistency is reached. Makes 1.25 cups. Use immediately or freeze (see note below).

To freeze your pesto: NF_Pesto_freezing_12 14

Divide pesto evenly into ice cube tray. Drizzle a little olive oil on top of each compartment (to prevent browning). Cover tray with plastic wrap, pushing wrap down on top of each compartment. Place in freezer overnight. Remove pesto cubes from ice tray and place in freezer-safe baggie. Label and date baggie (pesto stays good in freezer for up to 6 months). Each compartment holds about 2 Tbsp.


PLEASE SHARE: How do you make your pesto more nutritious? If you make a nut-free pesto, what ingredients do you use? Please share. I’d love to hear from you.


And, don’t forget to check out recipes from fellow Recipe ReDux’ers below. You’re sure to find some seriously yummy recipes that will inspire you to get into the kitchen!




1 Comment
  1. I never tried kale pesto. It sounds delicious!