Collard Green Pesto
January 23, 2013
Collard Green Pesto

I’m so happy my family loves greens so much. Be it spanikopita (spinach pie, encased in phyllo with feta), kale with bacon, or even just a fresh spinach salad, they always eat it up and ask for more. So I was not surprised they liked – – ok wait – – loved, my recipe for collard green pesto. This is also affectionately called by my 5 year-old, “green noodles.” I do not employ pine nuts for this dish like traditional pesto. During an experiment making this, I just didn’t love the pine nuts here like I do with basil pesto. The bonus is, the lack of pine nuts makes this pesto extremely affordable. And, it makes a ton.

Collards are just fun to cook with because, well, they are just so big. They look like gigantic fans.  I love looking at them and knowing they are dinner. So unexpected to know they are going to make a luscious base for plain pasta. Not only that, but collard greens fight against cancer, and are high in Vitamin C,  fiber, and calcium.

You should tailor this recipe to fit your tastes, but I will give you some basic instructions in this recipe.

Collard Green Pesto

1 big bunch of collard greens
Juice of 1 lemon (fresh, not bottled)
Salt to taste, which will probably equal at least 2 teaspoons
A few cracks of pepper
About 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic cut in half
2 teaspoons dried basil
About 1/2 cup of olive oil

Take ribs out of collards. Wash. Bring pot of water to boil, and add greens. Collard Greens SoakingCook about 25 or 30 minutes or longer, or until tender, but not mushy. You should be able to easily tear the greens but they should not fall apart. This is important – – let the collards cool before processing. After your collards are cool, add to a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the olive oil. Collard Green Pesto in Food Processor Start the food processor, and right away start adding olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. Collard Green Pesto You may not need all of the olive oil mentioned in the recipe. However, if you do and you feel it needs to be thinner, taste and see if more lemon juice is needed. Do not be afraid to add more salt or cheese.


  1. Tina Pittaway

    Can you make the pesto from canned collard greens or canned kale? Or would they be too soft?

  2. LauraM

    So happy you liked it Raeanne! It’s one of our favorite meals!

  3. Raeanne

    Thanks for your recipe! We are growing collards, but I didn’t know what to do with the bountiful harvest. Just made your recipe today. Our collards are going to pesto from now on. Thanks again.

  4. Jeff

    Laura, this one sounds great. We devour collards. Going to give this one a try.

  5. LauraM

    Great! Let me know how you like it. We like fresh tomatoes with salt on top!

  6. Tab

    I think I’m going to try this tonight :) I like that this doesn’t have pine nuts (although I love pine nuts) because Anna has nut allergies we just avoid all nuts :(


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