Kale Stem Pesto

I have been devouring the latest issue of Cherrybombe Magazine, Issue No. 6 ‘Eat My Words’, with coffee stains and sticky finger prints already gracing a few of the pages. I hope that you know & cherish this magazine, or if not I hope you come to after reading this. I purchased the latest issue from my one and only shop for all the best food magazines, MagNation, on a trip to Melbourne, and within a few days I had read Cherrybombe from front to back and given most of the recipes a go. The recipe that caught my attention instantly was a Kale Stem Pesto from an article interviewing Emily Ryder Simoness, the executive director of SPACE, an artists’ retreat located in upstate New York which features an organic garden used to create delicious, seasonal food for guests. SPACE’s approach to food resonates strongly with me so I knew this recipe was going to be something special.


I do not cook with kale very often, as to be honest I find it rather difficult to get the texture right, but this recipe seemed to solve that issue seeing that it’s all blitzed up! So simple to make, it made for the perfect mid-week meal served alongside a fresh, seasonal salad of zucchini, rocket, fig, soft goats cheese and prosciutto when my parents were over for dinner. Needless to say, they were impressed, very impressed. Next time I will make a nice big batch to have on hand in the freezer and perhaps to gift to family and friends.

I boiled up a combination of organic Italian wholemeal and plain spaghetti and cooked them together until al dente, then stirred through most of the pesto and some of the leftover pasta water until nicely coated. Then I stirred through some halved cherry tomatoes and rocket, served them into bowls and drizzled over the extra pesto and some freshly cracked pepper. Simply delicious! My go-to pasta sauce has always been Puttanesca, but now there’s some stiff competition…




Kale Stem Pesto

(Makes about a pint of pesto)


For the pesto:

  • Kale stems from 1 bunch of kale (leaves and base removed, cleaned and cut into 1-inch chunks)
  • ¼ cup parsley (chopped)
  • 20 basil leaves (chopped)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

For serving:

  • Pasta of your choice
  • Arugula (rocket)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Mozzarella



  1. Combine the kale stems, parsley, basil, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor and buzz. Some bunches of kale have more stems than others, so don’t be afraid to add more olive oil if you need it
  2. Once you’ve reached a great pesto texture, turn off the food processor and transfer the sauce to a bowl. Mix in the parmesan, salt and pepper
  3. Toss the pesto with cooked pasta, a bit of arugula, halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella



2 thoughts on “Kale Stem Pesto

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