Pumpkin Seed Pesto

The seventh Star Wars has me freaking out and in that same, excited spirit I bring you pesto. Pesto is truly is one of the most versatile sauces. It can made with a variety of herbs and/or nuts. The basic mixture is always the same: herbs, nuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and maybe some pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Boom. So simple, so flexible.

You can go traditional and use your pesto to coat pasta noodles.  I’ve taken it to new levels using it as dressing on salads, making it a base for tuna, chicken or egg salad, or mixed into scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, rice, or polenta. I love this Kale and Walnut Pesto previously featured here on THR. Take home message: Pesto is awesome and feel free to experiment!

THR’s Pumpkin Seed Pesto

2 cups fresh bail leaves, tightly packed
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (raw is fine, but roasting provides deeper flavor)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice


To toast pumpkin seeds, place raw pumpkin seeds in the a dry sauté pan over medium heat. Toast and toss frequenlty for about 10 minutes. Once slightly browned and fragrant, place in a bowl and allow to cool slightly.

Seeds should look something like this and smell way more delicious, see below.

Photo by Kimberly Sabada

Photo by Kimberly Sabada

Combine basil, pumpkin seeds, garlic, salt and lemon juice together in a food processor, pulse a few times. With food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until well blended, about 30 seconds. That’s it!

End. Game. Pic.

Image by Kimberly Sabada

Photo by Kimberly Sabada

Kale & Walnut Pesto

Kale has been labeled a super food by the media for a while now, so here is me jumping on the kale-frenzy bandwagon. This recipe was really only born from the fact that there was an actively expiring box of basil in my refrigerator. In an effort to salvage the dying herb, I picked up some kale and made this beautiful, nutrient-rich pesto from ingredients already in my kitchen.

Kale is loaded with vitamin K, A, and C. When consumed whole, kale also offers plenty of fiber. Sneaking it into salads, turkey meatballs and stir-fry are often my go-to moves with this lovely vegetable. Kale chips are another easy dinner side for nights when your time isn’t as dispensable.

What can you do with pesto besides the tired pasta sauce? You can put it in sandwiches for an extra level of flavor or fold into regular humus and dip veggies in it until your heart is content. I also enjoy spreading pesto onto homemade pizza. Try mixing it into scrambled eggs or sneak it as a layer into your lasagna – seriously, the list goes on and on.

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada

Photo Credit: Kimberly Sabada

Kale & Walnut Pesto


1 bunch of basil (optional)

4 cups of chopped kale

Zest of 1 lemon

1 TBS lemon juice

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

3 cloves garlic

Salt, pepper

1/4 – 1/2 cup olive oil

In a food processor, combine basil through garlic and blend. Season with salt and pepper.  With food processor running, drizzle in olive oil until desire consistency is achieved. Feel free to add some parmesan cheese if you so desire.

I also recommend freezing the pesto in ice-cube trays. Once frozen, pop them out and store in a zip lock bag in the freezer. The cubes defrost in no time and are just as delicious.