Kale Cilantro Pesto + 6 Uses for Pesto

This Kale Cilantro Pesto is a tasty substitute for your ordinary pesto sauce. It features plenty of fresh, healthy kale, cilantro, pepitas, garlic and olive oil, and has a variety of uses!

Kale Cilantro Pesto - 6 Ways to Use Pesto (Besides Pasta)

I love the flavor of pesto sauce. Unfortunately, I discovered when I was in high school that I’m allergic to pine nuts. Pesto sauce, traditionally, contains pine nuts.

So I usually avoid ordering anything at restaurants that contains pesto, unless it is specifically made clear that they’ve used an alternate nut (or seed) in the recipe.

Years ago, during my second visit to San Diego, I had a sandwich at Cucina Urbana that had a pesto on it that contained pepitas instead of the traditional pine nuts. It was so delicious, like everything at Cucina Urbana. It is one of my favorite places I’ve ever eaten! If you’re interested in San Diego restaurants, you can read more about my San Diego restaurant experience here.

I can’t remember everything on the sandwich now. I’m pretty sure goat cheese and grilled squash were both involved, but I made a mental note in the back of my head to try pepitas in place of pine nuts when I made pesto at home.

Kale Cilantro Pesto - 6 Ways to Use Pesto (Besides Pasta)

Recently, I made this tasty Kale Cilantro Pesto, using pepitas. I loved it so much that I was putting it on everything! Even though the most traditional use for pesto is with pasta, there are tons of other ways you can use it!

6 Uses for Pesto

Sure, you can use pesto the traditional way, tossed with pasta, but there are tons of other ways to enjoy this fresh, flavorful sauce.

1. Pizza Sauce – rather than a marinara, try using pesto as a sauce for your next pizza. It would be really good on this Flatbread Pizza with Sausage and Zucchini.

2. Sandwich Spread – instead of mayo on your sandwich, try pesto. A few ideas to get you started include:                    Roasted Red Pepper and Prosciutto Grilled CheeseGrilled Summer Squash SandwichTurkey with Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato.

3. Dipmaking vegetables more exciting is easy when you serve them with a delicious pesto dipping sauce. Pesto goes especially well with grilled veggies during the summer.

Kale Cilantro Pesto - 6 Ways to Use Pesto (Besides Pasta)

4. Bread – Slice a loaf of your favorite rustic bread, like this Rustic Rosemary Garlic Bread, in half and spread it with a generous amount of your favorite pesto. Sprinkle with some fresh parmesan cheese and broil until toasted and warm.

5. Marinade or Meat Sauce – Marinade meat in pesto with a some kind of acid (vinegar or citrus juice) and a little extra olive oil added to thin it out. Or, top already prepared meat, such as a Seared Filet Mignon, with some fresh pesto before serving.

6. Quick Potato Salad – Prepare some simple roasted potatoes (boiled works well too), cool them completely, and toss with a generous amount of pesto sauce for a quick, no-fuss summer potato salad recipe.

What is your favorite use for pesto?

Kale Cilantro Pesto

This Kale Cilantro Pesto is a tasty substitute for your ordinary pesto sauce. It features plenty of fresh, healthy kale, cilantro, pepitas, garlic and olive oil, and has a variety of uses!

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup Kale leaves
  • 1/3 cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1/3 cup Pepitas
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast

Directions:

Combine all of the listed ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or blender fitted with a blade.

With the lid in place as directed by your appliance manual, process the ingredients until smooth, making sure to stop the blade and scrape the sides of the food processor (as needed) throughout the processing.

Turn the food processor off, remove the blade, and scrape the pesto out (using a spatula) and into a bowl. Serve.

Notes:

Stays fresh refrigerated and covered for up to 3 days. May be frozen (ice cube trays work great).