Cavolo nero & hazelnut pesto

I found myself with a surplus of cavolo nero. This is not something I ever expected to say, but there you are. I had two big bunches, and no good ideas.

My default when faced with kale and its relations is to saute with onions/garlic and add cream. For instance here and here. But we didn’t have any cream, and anyway, I didn’t really want anything so rich.

Another consideration had to be persuading Kipper to eat her greens. In fairness, she’s pretty good about eating veg, but leafy brassicas aren’t always the easiest sell. Then I had a brainwave.

Kipper’s favourite food is….. PESTO! So why not make the cavolo nero into a delicious bright green pesto and serve it with pasta? Why not indeed.

The leaves were shredded and blanched, then whizzed up in the food processor with some garlic, olive oil, parmesan and ground hazelnuts. I was going to use the standard pine nuts, but then I saw these hazelnuts in the cupboard and decided to give them a whirl.

This was, if I say so myself, utterly delicious. DH was raving about it (I can’t actually remember the last time he went into raptures over dinner like he did with this one). Even Kipper scoffed it down. Nom nom nom.

We had it on pasta. There was a little bit left over, and the next day I had it for lunch, on some mini baked potatoes with cream cheese. DEEEEElicious. And fabulously green, too. 

This was so tasty, and so easy to make. It will certainly become a standard way to use cavolo nero in this house. Especially when we don’t have any cream.

Makes 4 generous portions. 

Pasta with cavolo nero & hazelnut pesto

Cavolo nero & hazelnut pesto
Serves 4
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
262 calories
8 g
8 g
24 g
6 g
4 g
96 g
200 g
0 g
0 g
19 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 262
Calories from Fat 210
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 24g
Saturated Fat 4g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 8mg
Sodium 200mg
Total Carbohydrates 8g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 0g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 250g cavolo nero
  2. 3 tbsp ground hazelnuts
  3. 1 clove garlic, peeled
  4. 75ml extra virgin olive oil
  5. 35g grated parmesan
  6. Salt & pepper
  1. Remove the white 'ribs' from the cavolo nero leaves. Wash the leaves thoroughly and shred them into 2-3cm strips.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Blanch the cavolo nero leaves for 2 minutes, then remove from the water and drain well in a colander, pressing down with a spoon to remove excess water.
  3. Transfer the cavolo nero to a food processor and add all the other ingredients except the salt & pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down as required.
  4. Taste, and season with salt & pepper to your liking.
  1. You may like to thin the pesto with a little pasta cooking water if serving with pasta.
Baked potatoes with cavolo nero pesto


I’m entering this lovely pesto into Pasta Please, hosted by KneadWhine and organised by Tinned Tomatoes, which this month is looking for recipes that are quick to prepare. This one’s ready in 10 minutes!


  1. Thank you for submitting this to Pasta Please this month – looks like we had similar ideas! I haven’t used much cavolo nero – I really want to give this a go!

  2. Yum! I’ve been meaning to make pesto for a while in my new food processor – I need to give it a go!

  3. Yum! I love making variations of pesto like this and I have been liking using pistachios at the moment.

  4. We love experimenting with different pesto combinations and this one looks particularly delicious. We’ve got some cavolo nero in the fridge so i’m going to make this for supper this week.

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