Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto Recipe

Good morning – I have a fun new recipe to share with you guys today: Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto! This is a great winter twist on pesto, as it doesn’t require basil, but still tastes delicious. Matt and I enjoyed it last night atop some baked fish and we both gave it two big thumbs up.


This recipe is not one that I created, though – the genius behind this recipe (which I’ll share below) is fellow Registered Dietitian Allen Tran, MS, RD, who is the official USSA High Performance Chef! What’s USSA? It’s the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. It’s the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboarding and U.S. Freeskiing, and operates out of the national training and education facility, the Center of Excellence, in Park City, UT. Cool job to work for them, huh?!

Allen created this recipe using Blue Diamond Almonds, which are the official snack nut of the US Ski Team and US Snowboarding! He’s been integrating the heart-healthy superfood into the dietary plans and meals prepared for athletes as part of their elite training regime leading up to and during the 2014 Winter Games. (Sidenote – anyone else ridiculously excited for the Winter Games?! 30 days to go – there’s a countdown here!)

Anyway! My friends at Blue Diamond sent over a few of Allen’s favorite almond recipe creations for me to try out and share with you. I loved the look of all of them, but this wintery and nutritious pesto recipe really caught my eye. Kale instead of basil? Almonds instead of pine nuts? Interesting. I couldn’t wait to try it!


We still have some Sizzlefish goodies in our freezer (more info about Sizzlefish in this post), so I was inspired by an old favorite recipe of mine, my Pesto Baked Salmon, and decided to create a variation of it last night with the Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto and some Atlantic Cod.


The pesto was really easy to make. I just threw all the ingredients into our Vitamix and whirled away! It’s not quite as easy as using a food processor for this sort of thing (I had to scrape down the sides a few times), but it worked. :)


A few minutes later, and voila!


I put the thawed fish on a baking sheet and added a spoonful of pesto on top. I threw some zucchini in there too, just for fun. It went into the oven at 375 for 15 minutes, along with some asparagus, since Matt loves roasted asparagus. :)



While we waited for our dinner to cook, Matt and I enjoyed some Cambria Pinot Noir, which rocked, btw. Totally buying this again!


We also had fun playing with Zara. :) This dangly string toy is her favorite – she carries it all around the house with her. Too funny!


When we first got Zara from the shelter, she had just gotten spayed and then got a cold, so she was pretty lethargic. I think she was also a bit malnourished. Now – she has so much personality! She’s still sweet and likes sitting with/on us on the couch, but she’s a lot more playful and energetic, which is fun. She’s gotten strong, too – she can jump so high!


Aaaaaaanyway. What was I talking about?

Oh yeah – pesto. :) 15 minutes later, and dinner was ready! That was easy.



I was originally planning to make a salad or serve this with quinoa or something, but Matt was he wasn’t all that hungry, and neither was I, so we went the full on veggie-tastic route.


Just as delicious as I’d hoped. You know something is good when it gets Matt to eat fish (Atlantic Cod isn’t all that fishy, which helps, too). :)

Here’s the recipe – enjoy it!

Blue Diamond Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto
created by Allen Tran, MS, RD – USSA High Performance Chef
(makes 1 ½ cups pesto)

  • ½ cup Blue Diamond Roasted Almonds (Note: you can substitute raw or slivered almonds)
  • 1 9-ounce container of baby kale leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • zest of one lemon (optional – we skipped this)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted almonds)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Add all of the ingredients to a food processor. (This recipe can be done in a blender, but may require additional olive oil or side scraping to blend smoothly.) Puree until the mixture is smooth.

To store, refrigerate with plastic wrap pushed directly onto the surface of the pesto, this will prevent browning. To freeze, spoon small portions onto a wax paper-lined small plate or baking sheet, freeze, and transfer to plastic freezer bags.

Blue Diamond Logo - 125pxThank you to Blue Diamond Almonds, the world’s largest almond processing & marketing company, for sponsoring this post! 

Our nation’s best athletes can be even better with your support. Send your words of inspiration to the U.S. Ski Team and U.S. Snowboarding via the "Inspire Team USA" sweepstakes and you could win a $2,000 winter gear gift card and a Blue Diamond Almonds Viewing Kit!


  1. 1

    It has been way too long since I made pesto… this looks delicious!

  2. 2

    yum! this recipe looks killer. i’ve been wanting to make another batch of kale pesto. made some this summer and loved it over zucchini “pasta.”

  3. 3

    Looks delicious! Quick question – do you have a food processor too? I’ve been going back and forth on getting either a vitamix or food processor. Just wondering if a vitamix can do pretty much everything the food processor could. Any thoughts?

  4. 6

    I love new takes on pesto. I always feel pesto is forgotten about! I can’t wait to try this mixed with some GF pasta maybe added some roasted tomatoes! Getting hungry!

  5. 7
    Chris Anne says

    Looks yummy, so going to make this recipe of pesto this weekend for dinner! Yum!

  6. 8

    Zara is the cutest!! If you ever need a cat-sitter let me know :)

  7. 9

    My boyfriend and I’s favorite meal is Pesto and Pasta (I like it with Feta as well) I am going to have to try this! It looks so good! and ya for Super foods!

  8. 10

    Zara is so cute I love when you post pics of her!!

    I was wondering about the cod- after reading this article recently I was under the impression that no local cod is sustainable but since I don’t eat fish I haven’t paid too much attention to it. Is this something you consider when choosing fish or do you just eat it because it was free samples?

    • 11

      Interesting! I feel like you have to pick your battles, and I don’t really keep up on all the fishing/sustainability stuff (with the exception of avoiding Chilean Sea Bass), but thank you for sharing!

      • 12

        Yeah, like I said since I don’t eat fish I haven’t paid too much attention, but I know that our oceans fisheries are generally devastated right now so I do think it is important if you are a consumer- maybe someone else with more info will chime in on it.

        I do remember that there is a really handy app you can download from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to help you make good choices when eating seafood, so maybe look into that if you’re interested?

  9. 14

    Totally can’t wait for the Olympics to start! I’m always addicted to watching all the coverage, whether it’s the Summer Games or the Winter (although the Winter have a bit of an edge for me ;) ).

  10. 16

    What a brilliant take on pesto! I love it!!! And, Zara is the cutest ever! Those pics are making me want a cat so bad, but I’m allergic. Ugh!

  11. 17

    Yum! This recipe looks great! I just got a Vitamix (!!) so I’ll have to try it out :)

  12. 18

    I have the same toy for my cat, Marlyn! She is nuts about it-it was a gift from Santa Paws; I’m not crazy at allll! Haha!

  13. 20

    YUM! This looks so tasty and I love how easy it is to make.

  14. 21

    I love this recipe! I don’t know what I’d do without my blender!:) Thanks for sharing Sizzlefish with me ! I live in SC and after I read your review, I emailed them last month to see if they would let me host one for my blog, and they said yes! I LOVE their fish! It’s the best! I’m a customer for life now:) Glad to see their fish appear in your blogs too!:)

  15. 22

    YUM! Looks so good! I’d keep the cheese out since I’m lactose intolerant but otherwise this looks delicious! I love the use of kale in the recipe! :)

  16. 23

    Zara is so cute! :)

  17. 24

    That pesto is to die! : )
    I was wondering, if there is any truth to cooking with aluminum foil (I love using it for a lot of dishes) being bad for you/causing Alzheimers?
    I also pop popcorn in an aluminum whirly pop popcorn pan…

    • 25

      I’ve never heard that before at all!! I feel like everything is going to kill us somehow nowadays, apparently. I’ll continue to use foil. :)

  18. 26
    Roadrunner says

    What a super idea! Looks terrific! Thanks –

  19. 27

    Parchment baking paper is an easy alternative to aluminum foil in many cases. There is a high correlation between blood levels of aluminum and Alzheimers. Other possible ways of getting aluminum into our bloodstreams–aluminum cooking pots, deodorants with aluminum chlorhydrate, and baking powder (you can get aluminum-free baking powder most anywhere natural food is sold).


  1. […] I’ve been enjoying the leftovers this week with the leftover roasted asparagus I made on Monday night to go with our fish topped with Roasted Almond & Kale Pesto! […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.