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Vegan Pumpkin Seeds & Kale Pesto

Healthy and earthy pesto sauce to eat with pasta, sandwiches or salads.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Dairy-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Shelly
Cost: $5


  • 3-4 Lacinato kale or another kind
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt
  • ½ lemon - optional
  • Chili flakes - optional


  • Soak the kale and basil in water to remove sand or insects for 2-3 minutes.
  • Put the pumpkin seeds into a large skillet over medium-low heat or toast them in a toaster oven on 300ºF until they have brownish spots – don't let them burn! Transfer the seeds to a small bowl or plate.
  • Drain the kale and roughly chop it. Put the same skillet over high heat and add the kale in. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add a ¼ cup of water if necessary. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit before you put it into the food processor.
  • Dry the basil and put it in a food processor with the garlic, kale, pumpkin seeds, olive oil and salt, and process into a sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid or water. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve over spaghetti or any pasta of your choice with a few drops of lemon juice and crushed chili and garnish with basil.


I used kale, but feel free to use any leafy green you like, such as spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, etc. Same with the basil: replace it with another herb, such as cilantro or parsley. (But don't be tempted to put in more than a small handful of parsley. Raw parsley, when it's blended or processed, it has a very strong flavor.) You can also make it with sunflower seeds, or nuts, such as cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, or pine nuts – but before you add them to the food processor, soak them in water for 10 minutes up 24 hours.