The Wine Country Table || Walnut Kale Pesto

It never fails – every week I load up on vibrant bunches of kale and leafy greens at the grocery store and 5-6 days later I find them – sadly forgotten, shoved in the back of the crisper drawer, wilted and just begging for attention! I desperately try to hide them in some type of soup or frittata before I hit the store again, buy more, and repeat the viscous cycle.
A large shallow bowl with a blue and cream decorative edge is piled high with noodles coated in a bright green pesto. There are walnuts and grated cheese on top and a fork and spoon on the side of the bowl. There is a glass if white wine next to the bowl.

It’s madness really – why on earth was I desperate to find ways to use those lack luster leafy greens when I could have been making this walnut kale pesto the whole time?! 

This walnut kale pesto is not only a lifesaver recipe for helping me clear my crisper drawer, but it is a fresh, welcome update to its sometimes overplayed, classic counterpart – basil pesto. 

Janet Fletcher's new cookbook The Wine Country Table is being held over a table setting that is styled with walnut kale pesto pasta.

This pesto recipe comes from Janet Fletcher’s new cookbook The Wine Country Table.This book is chock-full of gorgeous imagery from 23 stunning California farms and wineries as well as 50 vibrant recipes inspired by California’s wine-growing regions. When the lovely folks at California Wines sent me this book I was desperately in need of a little ray of California sunshine because we have been missing the west coast so badly! Only a few short months and we will be there for our summer visit. Until then though, I’ll be getting my Cali fix by cooking more delicious recipes from this book! 

A cream colored bowl filled with vibrant green pesto dressed pasta. There are other bowls filled with pasta in teh background. They all have a sprinkle of chopped walnuts and grated cheese.


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If you’ve made this Walnut Kale Pesto or any other recipe on our site then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you thought in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, and PINTEREST to see more delicious food, design, and decor.


Walnut Kale Pesto

A large shallow bowl with a blue and cream decorative edge is piled high with noodles coated in a bright green pesto. There are walnuts and grated cheese on top and a fork and spoon on the side of the bowl. There is a glass if white wine next to the bowl.

Trust us, make a double batch of this kale pesto because it is delicious on EVERYTHING we’ve tried it on from bagels and cream cheese to eggs, minestrone, chicken, and roasted potatoes! 

Wine suggestion:  California Chardonnay or Pinot Gris/Grigio

  • Author: From The Wine Country Table by Janet Fletcher
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian, Gluten Free


1/2 pound Tuscan (lacinato) kale
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts, divided
1 large clove garlic, sliced
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
kosher or sea salt
1 pound fresh gluten free egg fettuccini pasta ( I used Trader Joe’s ), fresh pappardelle, OR dried linguine


Cut out and discard the tough central rib from each kale leaf. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale leaves and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Squeeze dry and chop coarsely. You should have about 3/4 cup. 
Put the kale, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, and the garlic in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.  With the motor running, add the olive oil gradually through the feed tube and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the work bowl one or twice. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Season the pesto highly with salt. 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Just before the pasta is done, scoop out 1/2 cup of the boiling pasta water and whisk it into the pesto to thin it. Scoop out and set aside another 1 cup of the pasta water . Then drain the pasta and return it to the warm pot off the heat. Add as much of the pesto as you like; you may not need it all depending on how well sauced you like your pasta. Toss with tongs, adding as much of the reserved pasta water as needed to keep the noodles from clumping. 
Divide among individual bows. Top each portion with a shower of cheesed with the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, dividing them evenly. Pass additional cheese at the table. Serve immediately. 


Unlike basil pesto, this kale pesto keeps its bright color for at least a day. Spoon it into a lidded container, press plastic wrap against the surface, and cap tightly. 

Keywords: Gluten Free, pesto, kale

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