Condiments,  Dairy-free,  Nut-free,  Paleo,  Recipes,  Vegan

Kale-Basil Pesto with Avocado + Lemon

I love basil. It has an absolutely gorgeous aroma due to being very high in volatile oils. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, is incredibly high in vitamin K1, and quite decent in vitamins A, C, and manganese. Kale-Basil Pesto with Avocado + Lemon is fresh, creamy, and adds just enough zing to take any dish up a notch.

little jar of kale-basil pesto with avocado and lemon

Pesto is a great way to use up pretty much any greens that might languish in your fridge otherwise. If you have trouble eating enough veggies in general, adding a nutrient-dense pesto is a great option. This single small jar of pesto was made from two large bunches of basil and most of a rather generous bunch of kale (I had to pulse it a few times just to fit it all into my food processor!), so you can see how just a couple spoonfuls of pesto is like adding a whole serving or two of veg. And, because it’s been broken down a bit already, pesto is easier to digest than a raw salad – bonus!

Brimming with healthy fats, avocado is the perfect ingredient to add to an AIP or vegan pesto if you’re looking for a creamier texture with some of the sharper green and garlic edges mellowed out. Lemon adds another layer of flavour, and also helps digestion of greens (especially the hard cell-walls in kale). It is a beautiful source of vitamin C and antioxidants, and helps preserve colour and freshness.

This recipe tastes reminiscent of guacamole and pesto – so fresh and YUM!

Kale-Basil Pesto with Avocado + Lemon

Recipe by Emily HardingCourse: Condiments, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Paleo, Recipes, Vegan


Total time






  • 2 large bunches fresh basil

  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed

  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled (use only 1 if subtlety is your goal)

  • 4-6 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for top of jar

  • 1/2 avocado

  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

  • pinch pink salt

  • pinch turmeric, optional


  • Place greens and garlic in food processor, add a couple tablespoons oil, and pulse to break down slightly.
  • Add remaining ingredients and more of the oil if desired (I tend to eyeball the oil, so what is written is an approximate amount. You may want more or less depending on if you want a really luscious spread, a runny dressing, or a drier paste). Blend until mixed well, making sure to taste.
  • Use right away, or if storing, top off the jar with additional oil to preserve freshness (see note above*). May be frozen.
Did you love Kale-Basil Pesto with Avocado + Lemon? Try these pesto recipes next:

Carrot Top Pistou

Dandelion Basil Pesto

Broccoli Pesto with Capers


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