Plant-based Kale & Herb Pesto without pine nuts

pesto-recipe-without-pine-nutsThe classic ‘pesto alla genovese’ recipe is made with pine nuts, garlic, basil, course sea salt and Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino.  That recipe has become the base for many variations to make a sauce or dip that is delicious for pasta, and can be used as a condiment for so many other meals and platters too. As pine nuts are not always available (and very expensive) it’s good to know there are some great substitutes to make delicious homemade pesto.

This recipe is completely plant-based and the depth of flavour is created by roasting the cashews and walnuts. This adds so much flavour that you won’t even miss the cheese.

While you can’t go wrong with a basil pesto, don’t be afraid to work with what you have available to make your own pesto sauce. Spinach and kale both work excellent as the base and add a few herbs for extra flavour.

This Kale & Herb Pesto is delicious as a spread on toasted sourdough, with grilled brinjal and tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 200C degrees (fan) and slice the brinjal. Drizzle olive oil over the brinjal and give it a grind of salt & pepper. Grill for 30-40 minutes, turning the slices halfway. Add slices of tomato (with olive oil and salt & pepper) to the tray during the last 10 minutes. Toast a the sourdough bread slices, spread with the pesto, and place the grilled brinjal and tomatoes on top. Top with some fresh rocket.




  • 2 C Kale (trimmed off the stems)
  • ½ C mixed basil, rocket and mint
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 C Cashews
  • 1/3 C Walnuts
  •  ¼ C Olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • Good grind of salt (to taste)


Roast the cashews and walnuts in the oven on 180C degrees for 8-10 minutes, and leave to cool down. Add kale and herbs to the OmniBlend jug along with garlic, olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice. Blend till smooth. Add salt, nuts and blitz briefly or use the pulse to keep some texture. Taste and add more lemon juice and salt to taste. Use a silicon spatula to scrape out of the jug and store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

For pesto and any sauces like this, use either the 2ltr OmniBlend jug, or the 1.5lt narrow base jug. The shape of both these jugs makes it perfectly suited for blending sauces and spreads. You can find all models with these jugs here.

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