Recipes | Sauces, Salsas & Condiments

Vegan Low FODMAP Kale Pesto

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Our Low FODMAP Kale Pesto happens to be vegan – taking advantage of “cheesy” nutritional yeast. The body of the pesto if made up of the expected basil but with hearty kale and flat-leaf parsley as well, which lends balance to the other two bold greens. I do like my pesto with pine nuts, which this uses, but I do provide options for other nuts and seeds.

horizontal image of vegan low FODMAP kale pesto in a brown bowl, held by woman's manicured hand over stove surface

Kale Is Low FODMAP

We have an entire article for you on kale, that we encourage you to read. We assume you are a kale lover if you have found this recipe! Both curly kale and Lacinato kale have been lab tested and are easy to incorporate into low FODMAP recipes.

  • Monash University has lab tested Lacinato kale and it only has trace amounts of FODMAPs.
  • FODMAP Friendly has lab tested curly kale and serving sizes get a “Pass” at ½ cup or 30 g.

Unlike other kale recipes, where I have a strong preference, for this recipe you can use either the curly kale or the Lacinato. Our images show the curly.

kale pesto on pasta in wooden bowl with fork standing straight up

You Can Make This Pesto Nut-Free

I do like pine nuts in my pesto; I guess I am a classicist in that way. We do have another vegan pesto that features Parsley and Walnuts, so I have been known to branch out.

If you would like to make this pesto nut-free you can use seeds. Whenever you alter a low FODMAP recipe, swapping one ingredient for another, you always have to take the FODMAP load into consideration.

In this case, let’s take a look at some seeds that can be used as replacements for the pine nuts.

  • Hemp Seeds – these are low FODMAP in 2 Australian tablespoon amounts or 20 g per serving
  • Sunflower Seeds (hulled) – these are low FODMAP in 2 teaspoon amounts or 6 g per serving

The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of pine nuts. You can use 3 tablespoons of either hemp seeds or hulled sunflower seeds and if you stick with the serving size the recipe will still be low FODMAP.

close up image of kale pesto on spaghetti in wooden bowl on stone surface

Garlic Flavor Without FODMAPs

By now you might have noticed some recipes popping up on the site that use FreeFod Garlic Replacer. This is a powder with a potent garlic flavor (perfect for pestos) and it is lab tested and certified low FODMAP by FODMAP Friendly!

This kale pesto recipe was inspired by one we found at Pinch of Yum, but it needed a FODMAP IT!™ makeover, particularly in regards to the hefty amount of fresh garlic original called for. And we promise, our version is garlic flavor packed, yet low FODMAP, thanks to the FreeFod Garlic Replacer.

What Is Nutritional Yeast?

Nutritional yeast is a species of yeast known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is considered “deactivated” and has undergone a heating and drying process that renders it inactive – so don’t try and use it in bread baking. It is used as a condiment and seasoning and it lends a “cheesy” flavor, as improbable as that might sound.

Nutritional yeast is a dry, yellow product that can vary in texture from tiny granules to flakes. Brands vary hugely in flavor and texture and I like Braggs the best, which is flaky. The flavor of this pesto relies on you using Bragg Nutritional Yeast.

Once you have a jar of it around, you will probably be wondering what else to do with it. Try our Kale Chips and by all means, the next time you make popcorn, mist it with extra-virgin olive oil (or Garlic-Infused) and then sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast. Try it!

How To Make Vegan Low FODMAP Kale Pesto

Making this pesto is super simple if you have a food processor. You could try a blender, but you will probably have to scrape down the carafe quite a few times. Also, if you do use a blender, place all the ingredients in the carafe at the same time with the liquids – the olive oil and lemon juice – in the bottom. This will help everything blend best.

Gather your kale, basil and fresh flat-leaf parsley. I am showing it to you in a bowl here so that it is easier to see than peeking into a food processor, but you can just toss them in there.

basil, kale and parsley in a stainless steel bowl

Add the nutritional yeast, FreeFod Garlic Replacer, toasted pine nuts, salt and lemon juice. Toasting the pie nuts enhances their buttery, nutty flavor and texture.

basil, kale, parsley, nutritional yeast, toasted pine nuts and FreeFod Garlic replacer in a stainless steel bowl

Process in the food processor until everything is finely chopped and combined.

ingredients for kale pesto in food processor finely chopped

Then drizzle in the oil and process until you have a smooth paste. Your Vegan Low FODMAP Kale Pesto is ready to use. Toss with pasta. Spread on crostini, add to roasted meats or vegetables, stir into soup…get creative!

vegan low FODMAP kale pesto in a brown bowl, held by woman's manicured hand over stove surface

More Pesto

We have classic Basil Pesto, of course, but also the aforementioned Parsley Walnut Pesto as well as a Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto for your low FODMAP enjoyment.

horizontal image of vegan low FODMAP kale pesto in a brown bowl, held by woman's manicured hand over stove surface
5 from 1 vote

Vegan Low FODMAP Kale Pesto

Our Low FODMAP Kale Pesto happens to be vegan – taking advantage of “cheesy” nutritional yeast. The body of the pesto if made up of the expected basil but with hearty kale and flat-leaf parsley as well, which lends balance to the other two bold greens. I do like my pesto with pine nuts, which this uses, but I do provide options for other nuts and seeds.

Low FODMAP Serving Size Info: Makes about 1 cup (8-ounces/225 g); 8 servings; 2 tablespoons per serving

Makes: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Author: Dédé Wilson

Ingredients:

  • 2- ounces (55 g) trimmed curly or Lacinato kale leaves; about 2 ½ cups chopped and lightly packed
  • 1/2- ounce (40 g) basil leaves; about 1 cup lightly packed
  • 1/2- ounce (40 g) flat-leaf parsley leaves; about 1 cup lightly packed
  • ¼ cup (36 g) nutritional yeast, such as Bragg’s
  • 3 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts, see Tips
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons FreeFod Garlic Replacer
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  1. Combine the kale, basil, parsley, nutritional yeast, pine nuts, lemon juice, FreeFod Garlic Replacer and salt in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse on and off until the greens are very finely minced. Turn machine on and add olive oil with machine running and process until a smooth paste forms, scraping down the bowl one or twice as needed.
  2. Pesto is ready to use or may be refrigerated in an airtight container for about 1 week or frozen for 1 month. We like to dollop it into ice cube trays, freeze, then pop the cubes out into zip top bags for longer storage.

Tips

  • While we use pesto in a variety of ways, pasta is one of our favorites. Always save pasta cooking water, which will be starchy, to add to the pesto. It will loosen it up a bit and help create a fluid sauce that clings to your noodles.

FODMAP Information

Our recipes are based on Monash University and FODMAP Friendly science.

  • Kale: Both Monash University and FODMAP Friendly have lab tested kale. Monash pictures Lacinato type kale and says that kale is Green light and low FODMAP in servings of ½ cup, chopped (75 g). FODMAP Friendly depicts curly kale and gives it a “Pass” at ½ cup chopped (30 g).
  • Lemon Juice: Monash University has lab tested lemon juice and it is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup (125 g) amounts.
  • Oil: All pure oils are fats and contain no carbohydrates, therefore they contain no FODMAPs.

Please always refer to the Monash University & FODMAP Friendly smartphone apps for the most up-to-date lab tested information. As always, your tolerance is what counts; please eat accordingly. The ultimate goal of the low FODMAP diet is to eat as broadly as possible, without triggering symptoms, for the healthiest microbiome.

Course: Basic, Condiment
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 105kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 149IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more. For a more detailed explanation, please read our article Understanding The Nutrition Panel Within Our Recipes.

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