Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta (Oil-free!)

Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta (Oil-free!)

Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta is oil-free, full of fresh healthy ingredients, whole foods & full of delicious flavor. It is the perfect pesto pasta!

Vegan Kale pesto pasta in white bowl


I love making pestos, sauces, dips and spreads out of greens and veggies. They are a fantastic way to get in a lot of veggies for not only my hubby and I, but also my daughter. Peas are a great source of protein and kale is a powerhouse of nutrients, calcium and Vitamin C. I'm a big fan of kale, especially in this Garlic Kale Salad With Almond Butter Dressing! This vegan kale pesto won't make your child feel like they are eating veggies, especially when paired with pasta.


One thing that sets this vegan kale pesto pasta immense flavor is the strong dose of garlic and the dark balsamic vinegar. Slightly sweet from the peas and a really nice kick of garlic flavor. I LOVE garlic, so that was my focus on this one. Their is added depth of flavor from the vinegar. Dark balsamic vinegar gives more of a wine flavor, versus a vinegar like apple cider.

Another bonus is this kale is oil-free! It's actually really low-fat and so healthy! You don't need oil to make an amazing pesto my friends!


You will need just 7 ingredients (+salt/pepper/water):

  • green peas
  • garlic cloves
  • nutritional yeast
  • dark balsamic vinegar
  • lemon juice
  • baby kale (I buy the 5 oz packages, prewashed and ready to eat. Use spinach if you cannot find the baby kale. Do NOT use regular curly kale, it is too strong and fibrous here)
  • pasta of choice

Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, garlic, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to a large pan and turn the heat to medium.

green peas cooking in pan

Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until there is only a small amount of liquid remaining, it should have reduced by at least half.

green peas cooking in pan after 10 minutes

Next, add the cooked mixture to a food processor with the lemon juice and kale, in batches, until pureed and smooth. Add warm pasta water to reach desired consistency. I added about 2 more tablespoons of water. Taste and add any additional seasoning, if desired. It should look like this.

vegan kale pesto in food processor

Serve this vegan kale pesto over pasta. Garnish with walnuts for added crunch, if desired.

vegan kale pesto pasta with walnuts in white bowl

I hope you love this oil-free Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta!

Other Oil-free Vegan Pestos to try:

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Vegan Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic, balsamic vinegar and kale come together to create a boldly flavored pesto. Only a few ingredients are needed for a big impact. Rich acidic flavor comes from the balsamic vinegar, while the sweet peas help to balance it. The kale keeps it fresh tasting. Tossed with fresh pasta, this makes a very filling, healthy and delicious meal that comes together really quickly.
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword vegan kale pesto, oil-free pesto, vegan pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Brandi


  • 1 10 oz bag of frozen peas (280g which is 1 3/4 full cups)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) water
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, minced (lots of flavor here, don't skimp!)
  • 1 tablespoons (5g) nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) dark red wine balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) fresh lemon juice
  • 5 oz of BABY kale (I buy the 5 oz package, prewashed and ready to eat. Use spinach if you cannot find the baby kale. Do NOT use regular curly kale, it is too strong and fibrous here.)
  • 12 oz gluten-free brown rice spiral pasta works best with this pesto
  • optional: chopped walnuts as garnish


  • Due to the large amount of peas, this DOES have a sweetness to it, so expect that. If that doesn't sound like your thing, then make the spinach pea pesto linked above in the post, it has half the amount of peas.


  1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions and make sure to salt your pasta water well. While it is cooking follow the next steps.

  2. Add the peas, 1/2 cup water, garlic, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to a large pan and turn the heat to medium. You are NOT adding the lemon juice yet. Cook for 5-10 minutes until almost all the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. 

  3. Add the cooked mixture to a food processor with the lemon juice and kale, in batches, until pureed and completely smooth, as in the photo. Add the warm pasta water to reach desired consistency. I added about 2 more tablespoons of water. Taste and add any additional seasoning, if desired. For more acidity, add more vinegar or lemon juice. Serve over pasta.

Recipe Notes

*Gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free if leave off the walnuts garnish

*Nutrition per serving with pasta (1 cup): 417.5 calories, 3.25 g fat, 14 g protein, 85.5 carbs

*Nutrition on just pesto: 102.5 calories, .25 g fat, 8 g protein, 18 carbs




  1. Yum! I will be reblogging this next week I think. Hope that is okay. Looks devine
      Of course I don't mind Cindy, thank you, I'm flattered! xoxo
  2. So tempting! Beautiful, Brandi!
      Thank you sweet Annie!
  3. I don't know what's calling me, colour or flavour!Cheers Choc Chip Uru
      Aww thanks! I think both, haha :)
  4. Nice pesto, peas and kale really nice combination, I imagine the peas would make this really creamy. Very versatile and so good for you!
      Thank you Suzanne! The peas balance out the bitterness of the kale and acidicty of the balsamic....all together it creates a nice bold flavor that we all enjoyed :)
  5. What a great idea using both kale and peas in your pesto, Brandi. I bet it was delicious and love that you didn't scrimp on the garlic. :)
      Oh, no....lots and lots of garlic! I love garlic!
  6. Smart with the addition of peas! This looks wonderful. Who doesn't like pesto?! And peas, I looove peas! :)
      Thank you Katie!
  7. I just made pesto but I could always use some more! I love that you used peas and kale in this recipe. Talk about increasing my veggie intake! I love garlic too so I always use lots 'n lots of it. This looks fabulous, Brandi!
      Thank you so much Nancy. It is certainly healthy and delish :)
  8. I just made this. It was so Simple, so Fast and SO DELICIOUS! .... and you're right don't skimp on the garlic!
      I'm so happy to hear that Louise! Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and yes, lots of garlic! MMMM :)
  9. Peas, garlic and kale pesto? That sounds delicious! I love peas in anything else! Looks gorgeous ;)
      Thank you is a wonderful combo!
  10. I've always been concerned about the 'bitter factor' when considering kale in a pesto. Yours sounds absolutely delish though Brandi, and those photos definitely have me convinced! I will give your recipe a go. Love the idea of the added walnuts too (I am addicted to walnuts!) xx
      Thank you so much Laura! It isn't bitter, thanks to the peas and balsamic balancing it out with it's sweetness. It really comes together to a yummy pesto! I hope you enjoy it :)
  11. I just want to jump right inside my computer screen and eat that whole bowl right up! I'm loving the mixture of pasta, pesto and walnuts! I'm also a big fan of garlic. YUM!!
  12. I made your very delectable pesto & loved it so much! It was superb, Brandi! Really creamy too! :)Yummmmmm :) xxx
  13. That looks absolutely wonderful! What a great combination of flavours / ingredients.
      Thank you so much Georgina! It works really well together!
  14. Maybe I just missed it, but where do you add the red wine?
      Hi Holly! It's not red wine, but a dark red wine balsamic vinegar. I think it should be fine with and DARK balsamic vinegar though. I just prefer the one that contains red wine vinegar and grape musts, but just make sure you are using the dark and not white balsamic. Let me know how it turns out! :)
  15. Made this and it is my favorite pesto so far (haven't tried your other ones yet haha ;D)!! Perfected a wok I made and I enjoyed it on top of my toast too - YUM ♥
      Yay! Thank you so much Milla! So glad you loved the pesto. Thank you so much for making it!
  16. I like this recipe too much!
  17. hi! I was so excited to make this only to find out I don't have the dark red balsamic vinegar =) Do u think there's a sub for that? or leave it?I have apple cider, rice and white vinegar.. If none, I will just have to go to our nearest super market.. =) Thanks.
    • Hi Tess! The dark red balsamic vinegar has a distinct taste and I use a red balsamic vinegar by Alessi, so I'm afraid a regular vinegar will taste way too strong of an off vinegar. The flavors are pretty different and I just don't think white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work here, sorry!
  18. This was good too
      I'm so glad to hear that, thank you!
  19. This looks delicious, Brandi! Thanks for letting me know about this in your comment on my Kale pesto recipe. Love the look of this - how bright and green this recipe looks. This is comfort food in a bowl.
      Thank you so much Florian! I need to try your version!
  20. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!! My boyfriend & his picky brother both liked it! I actually like this recipe more than the usual pesto sauce I make. Can't wait to try more of your recipes! :)
      Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback Lydia, I really appreciate it!
  21. Another winner! Delicious! We had all the ingredients apart from young kale, I had fresh 'grown up' kale and cooked it for a couple of minutes before adding peas etc. My husband loved it too. We both agreed, -far nicer than the old oily cheesy version I used to make before becoming vegan.
      I'm so happy you loved it Hazel, thank you so much for leaving feedback, I really appreciate it!
  22. This looks great! What is the yeast for, is there a substitute that could be used? Thank you!!
  23. How about White oak aged sherry reserve vinegar? Would that work?
      Hi! I have not tried that but I *think* it would work! Let me know!
  24. Is it alright if I don't use it right away or what is the best way to store it? Refrigerate in Mason jars?Please let me know ASAP :)
  25. Is it alright if I don't use it right away or what is the best way to store it and how long will it keep? Refrigerate in Mason jars?Please let me know ASAP :)
  26. How long will this keep and does it need to be refrigerated?Please let me know ASAP :)
      Hi Leni! This will last about a week in the fridge. Definitely needs to be refrigerated :)
  27. This is an awesome recipe.
  28. Sounds fantastic! Do you have a link to the dark balsamic you use?
      Hi Tracey, it is called Pompeian balsamic vinegar and it's dark. I've also used a brand called Alessi. You can find them at most grocery stores and even Walmart and it's very inexpensive.
  29. I think I wrote my comment in the wrong box, box. I thank you for sharing all of your recipes. I’ve bought four books so far; one for me and the rest as gifts. Love everything in it so far especially the chocolate pancakes!
  30. Hi Brandi! I don't like peas! What other ingredient would you recommend? Your cookbook is amazing!🤗
      Hi Sahara! Thank you so much!! I would make the Spinach Arugula Pesto linked above in the post instead then. It’s actually my favorite pesto! Thank you so much, so glad to hear it!
  31. Loved this! Don't know how you thought this up (or for that matter, all your other recipes!), but this is such a nice change from basil pesto. Delicious and easy to make. As a kid, I loved green peas but then ignored them going WFPB, thinking they didn't have as much nutrition as the more rock stars green veggies, but they really do. We added sauteed yellow squash with this since we usually do that with regular pesto. And used the brown rice spiral pasta you recommended, which was very nice. Served with a tomato, cuke, and onion marinated salad. Thanks, Brandi!
      Wonderful Ellen, so very happy to hear how much you enjoyed this pesto, thank you so much for the feedback!
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