Dreamy Pesto Spread

The best thing about blending foods is that you hardly have to think of it as cooking. You’re just pushing buttons, ok? Measure, pour, press, and adjust. And that last part is all up to you. Usually, I don’t follow a recipe to a T if it only requires a food processor or a blender. And that goes for hummus, salsas, bean dips, smoothies, and, soon-to-be pesto. Can you smell it already?

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I made Izy Hossack’s lemony kale pesto pasta more than two years ago. It was delicious. But I’ve been trying to find the right balance in a vegan pesto ever since. Traditional pesto relies on Parmesan for flavor, and playing by the rules is dumb. So. Two years later: Here we are! (Although I can’t say I was in a rush.) This pesto sauce is garlicy (like all the best foods), fresh, and the most vibrant green you ever did eat. Not to mention, the ingredients are the opposite of intimidating. Chances are, you can name everything on this plate. Not the case? Not a problem. Tell yourself a lie and fake it like the best of us.

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If you’re not a visual learner, don’t worry. I even wrote down all the pesto deets for you. That being said, we’ve all got our own tastes. I like my pesto sauce thick rather than runny so I can spread the leftovers on toast and use it as a dip for veggies. And when served over warm pasta, it melts in a bit. But if you want a thinner pesto, you’ll have to adjust. To thick or dry? Add more liquid. Missing the cheese? Check the size of those garlic cloves. You call that a clove?! Let’s get some bad breath up in here. You know how it goes with these blended things. Keep a little extra of each ingredient on hand, and you’ll do just fine.

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Dreamy Green Pesto

Makes 1 cup

What you need:

  • 2 cups chopped curly kale
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves (not packed down)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (or of 2 small lemons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more, as needed)


Put all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and hit that button, turn the knob, you know. Not hard stuff. Pause and use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Add more olive oil as needed, 1/2 tablespoon at a time. Taste, adjust, and blend until it’s smooth.

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