Vegan Kale Arugula Pesto

5 from 1 vote

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No need for herbs in this vegan kale arugula pesto with lemon juice, walnuts and nutritional yeast. Use it on anything from pasta to pizza to roasted veggies.

Vegan Kale Arugula Pesto

I like to keep at least one hunk of Parmesan cheese in the fridge at all times.

The best way I’ve found to cut it and get super thin slices is to use a peeler.

Then I take those slivers and crumble them to finish off salads and pastas. 

When I use my box grater on Parmesan, it’s for pesto.

kale arugula pesto in a jar

The basil in my indoor hydroponic garden is just starting to really come in, but it’s not quite at the point of being enough to harvest for a full batch of pesto.

In the mean time I am reaching for other kinds of greens. 

Parsley makes wonderful pesto, and you don’t always have to use something herby.

I love roasted tomato pesto, too.

Ingredients for vegan pesto with kale, arugula, nutritional yeast, lemon, walnuts and garlic

For me, something counts as pesto if it involves a feature ingredient like herbs plus nuts, cheese and olive oil.

But that cheese component can come in other forms. 

In this vegan kale arugula pesto, I swap out Parmesan and use nutritional yeast instead.

Nutritional yeast is yeast that’s grown to be food and not to leaven bread. During the process of manufacturing, the yeast is deactivated.

You usually can find it in the spice aisle at the grocery. Nutritional yeast is flaky and has a cheesy, nutty flavor. 

Vegan Kale Arugula Pesto

How To Make Vegan Kale Arugula Pesto

This pesto is inspired by two of my favorite salad leaves: curly kale and arugula.

Kale makes up just over half the greens with arugula adding a peppery zip.

I start by mincing a few garlic cloves in a food processor. 

Then I add the kale and arugula, lemon juice, walnuts, salt and pepper.

When everything is pretty well chopped, I pour olive oil through the feeder tube of the food processor with the motor running. 

In less than a minute, my vegan kale arugula pesto is finished and ready to be stirred into or spread onto something.

Roasted cauliflower dressed in vegan pesto

Pesto Is For More Than Pasta

Pasta, with pizza as a close second, is the most obvious way to use pesto.

I also like this pesto brushed on roasted cauliflower right when it comes out of the oven. 

You can stir pesto into a bowl of grains like quinoa, couscous or barley.

Vegan Kale Arugula Pesto on Rigatoni Pasta
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Vegan Kale Arugula Pesto

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 4
No need for herbs in this vegan kale arugula pesto with lemon juice, walnuts and nutritional yeast. Use it on anything from pasta to pizza to roasted veggies.


  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1-1/2 cups packed chopped kale
  • 1 cup packed baby arugula
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup olive oil


  • Mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Add the kale, arugula, lemon juice, walnuts, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and finely chop. With the motor running, drizzle the olive oil through the feeder tube processing until the pesto is combined.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Recipe makes about 1 cup pesto.


Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Sodium: 307mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2634IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Spreads & Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Mention @lastingredient on Instagram and tag it #lastingredient!

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Hi, I'm Paige.

Welcome to Last Ingredient where you will find simple seasonal recipes with plenty of fruits and vegetables, all for the home cook.

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