Winter Greens Pesto

This pesto recipe is one to keep on hand for multiple meals.

Winter Greens Pesto
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen
Active Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
15 mins
1 ½ cups

This pesto comes with a punch. Liven up any winter recipe with this good-for-you sauce made with seasonal greens.

Pesto is traditionally made with fresh herbs, such as basil, but we're mixing it up in this new recipe. This Winter Greens Pesto is designed to be versatile—in place of basil, use any hearty winter greens, such as kale, collards, or beet greens. Boiling the greens before adding them to the food processor helps them tenderize and maintain their bright green color. Then, simply add the remaining ingredients—toasted walnuts, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan, honey, salt, and lemon zest and juice—to the food processor and pulse.

Fifteen minutes later, you've made your pesto. Now what to do with it? We've got some inspiration for you. 1) Swirl it into creamy dips, like hummus or guacamole. 2) Spread it on the inside of a grilled cheese sandwich before cooking. 3) Brush it over grilled meat or seafood kebabs, and serve extra pesto on the side. Or simply swap this Winter Greens Pesto in in any pasta dish that already calls for pesto, like our Linguini with Parsley Pesto.


  • 8 ounces fresh mixed winter greens (such as kale, collards, and beet greens), stemmed and coarsely chopped (7 cups)

  • cup toasted walnuts, chopped

  • 1 large garlic clove, smashed

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil 

  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. fresh juice (from 1 lemon)

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place 2 quarts water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over high. Add winter greens; cook, stirring often, until bright green and slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Drain in a colander, and rinse under cold water. Squeeze firmly to remove as much liquid as possible over sink, and transfer to a food processor.

  2. Add walnuts and garlic to greens in food processor, and pulse until finely chopped, about 8 pulses, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Add olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, and kosher salt; process until well blended, about 20 seconds. Transfer to an airtight container. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of pesto, and cover with lid. Chill up to 3 days.

Tasty Ways To Use It

1. Swirl into creamy dips, like hummus or guacamole.

2. Spread on the inside of a grilled cheese sandwich before cooking.

3. Brush over grilled meat or seafood kebabs. Serve extra pesto on the side.

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