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Coconut Oil Kale Pesto

  • Author: Tessa
  • Total Time: 15 mins
  • Yield: about 2 C 1x


  • 3 C packed roughly chopped curly green kale (stems removed)
  • 1 C loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 T roughly chopped hot pepper (e.g., jalapeño pepper); seeds, stems, and membranes removed
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1/2 C pumpkin seeds (toasted if desired–see notes)
  • 1 T roughly chopped fresh ginger, peeled
  • Sriracha or other hot sauce (optional)
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 C coconut oil, barely melted in the microwave or on the stove (not piping hot)


  1. You can make the pesto ahead of time, but allow an hour or two for it to come to room temperature after refrigerating and before you use it. Coconut oil solidifies much more readily than olive or other oils–it will act more like butter in the fridge. Because raw garlic is used, never leave pesto at room temperature for long periods of time. It poses a risk of food poisoning (botulism).
  2. Combine kale, cilantro, garlic, hot pepper, lime juice, pumpkin seeds, ginger, 2 quick squirts of hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of black pepper in a food processor. Run a couple minutes, until everything is very finely chopped. Stop to scrape down sides a couple times. With processor running, slowly drizzle in oil until incorporated. Stop to taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and sriracha. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.


To toast your own pumpkin seeds, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until mostly golden brown, about 5 to 10 minutes. It’s normal for a few seeds to puff up and pop loudly.

My favorite way to peel ginger is with a spoon!

The pesto is vegan, gluten free, and nut free.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Sauce
  • Cuisine: Healthy