Clean Eating

Superfoods: Kale and Basil Pesto Recipe

I am always on the lookout for any way to sneak some veggies into my semi-picky eater’s diet. Despite doing baby-led weaning and have a one year old who would eat literally anything (except mangoes….who doesn’t like mangoes?), my baby has turned into a typical toddler who turns her nose up at most vegetables (with the exception of beets and purples carrots… ONLY purple ones).

One of my favorite strategies is to add veggies into her favorite foods. My girl loves her pesto (because cheese) and will gladly devour spoonfuls of it (like momma like daughter). We use it as a pasta sauce, or, our favourite, making pesto pizzas. Sneaking in some veggies is so easy. Just halve the amount of basil you would usually use and add your favourite leafy green. I usually do kale, but spinach and arugula both are great too. Garlic scapes also taste amazing, but I didn’t get garlic in the garden this year.

Not sure if everyone makes pesto from scratch, but it is quick and easy, and is pretty cheap using the veggies from your garden. Basil and kale are sooo easy to grow. Last summer I exclusively container gardened (is that a verb?) because we moved halfway through the summer and I ended up with heaps of each.

growing kale in the garden
Can you tell we don’t use pesticide? A few little holes in our kale

growing basil in containers
Basil is so easy to grow in containers like these
Quick tip: I use walnuts or cashews rather than pine nuts to make it more economical.

Like so many things, after getting used to the fresh homemade version, I can’t go back to store bought pesto.

This version is easy to freeze as well. I usually just spoon some into a freezer Ziploc and date it (Goal: invest in small jars so I can ditch the plastic). Pesto never lasts long at my house, but it seems to keep just fine.

The end result: Hannah and I have a delicious treat while getting our greens. No, perhaps not a full serving (though if I let her, she might just devour a whole batch in one sitting). However, this is an argument-free way to sneak some extra veggies into her life!


One large handful basil

7-10 Kale leaves (remove stems)

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2-4 cloves of garlic (I like a lot of garlic and use 4)

1/4 tsp salt

A few squirts of lemon juice (bottled) or the juice of one lemon


Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until smooth. Add more olive oil if needed to smooth out consistency.


Pesto pizza
Hannah’s favorite snack: pesto spread on some flat bread and covered with mozzarella

I would love to  hear how you get you little ones to eat veggies. It looks like I will need all the help I can get in the next few months! Please share your tips below!


16 thoughts on “Superfoods: Kale and Basil Pesto Recipe

  1. Yum! What a creative way to sneak healthy foods into your kids diet! I am always looking for new ways to do this- I have to do it even for my husband! Thanks for the recipe.

Leave a Reply