Kale & Argan Oil Pesto

Laurie Wolf, Photography by Anastassios Mentis

kale pesto

Subscribe to KIWI Now

Get monthly news and articles, seasonal recipes, and crafts.

Privacy Policy

Latest Recipes

+ See More


Makes 2 servings

1/3 cup walnuts

3 garlic cloves

2/3 cup Parmesan cheese

1⁄2 cup argan oil or a mix of argan and olive oil

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

Several grinds of black pepper

Pressed from the nut of the Moroccan argan tree, argan oil has been used as part of beauty rituals for hundreds of years and is a desired moisturizing ingredient in cosmetics today. But it’s also gaining popularity in the U.S. for its culinary uses.

The roasted version of the oil is a main staple in the Moroccan culture—farmed mostly by traditional all-female cooperatives and enjoyed liberally as a dip for breads or drizzled on vegetable and grain dishes. (It doesn’t hold up well to heat, so it’s used more as a flavor agent and not to actually cook food in.) Not only does this nutty oil provide delicious flavor, but it’s also high in unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants and has been shown to help combat inflammation and even protect against skin cancer.

The oil does have a strong flavor, so a little goes a long way. If your kids are less adventurous, you can start by mixing argan oil with milder olive oil to slowly introduce them to the new taste. Here, we created a fall pesto using argan oil and kale greens instead of traditional basil. Try it on your favorite pasta dish or as a sandwich spread!


  • Switch out the kale for spinach or a combination of the two greens.
  • Try pine nuts or almonds instead of walnuts.
  • For a nut-free version, omit the walnuts and add extra Parmesan cheese.

More Ways To Use Argan Oil

  • FOR AN APPETIZER: Combine argan oil with ground toasted almonds and honey. Serve as a dip with crusty bread.
  • FOR A SIDE DISH: Roast potatoes with rosemary, garlic, and a few drizzles of argan oil.
  • FOR A QUICK DINNER: Make a salad dressing with argan oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs, and a generous amount of freshly ground pepper. Toss with arugula, goat cheese, cucumbers, and ripe tomatoes, adding grilled chicken or another protein if you wish.

Where To Get It

Look in your grocery store or online for an argan oil made specifically for culinary uses, not for beauty. We used Organic Argan Oil by Moroccan Oils ($20 for 16 oz., supermarkets).


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Place the walnuts on a baking sheet with sides.

3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly toasted, check- ing often to prevent burning.

4. Rinse kale and pat dry.

5. Roughly chop the kale leaves and garlic cloves.

6. Grate the Parmesan cheese.

7. In the bowl of a food processor combine the kale with the cheese, walnuts, and garlic. Process until coarsley chopped.

8. Slowly drizzle in the argan oil or a combination of argan and olive oils. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Process again until smooth.

Per Serving:

Calories: 95

Carbohydrates: 4 g

Fat: 9 g

Protein: 5 g

Fiber: 1 g

Active Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Resize text-+=