Kale Sunflower Pesto with Zoodles


For those of us who tend to eat seasonally, it’s natural for us to crave lighter dishes as the weather gets warmer. As we transition into Spring, it is the perfect time to introduce a fresh take on an Italian favourite. This plant-based pesto dish still delivers on the cheesy, herby flavours of the classic with some very simple ingredient swaps. We’re using zoodles for this healthy pasta and nutritional yeast to substitute parmesan cheese.

While it is keto and paleo-friendly, you don’t need to follow any particular low-carb diet to win over dinner guests with this dish. Whether you serve it warm or chilled, this versatile recipe combines nutrient-rich kale with the nutty texture of sunflower seeds and cheesy ‘nooch’. It creates a perfect alternative to the rich dishes that have been keeping us warm through the winter. Give this kale sunflower pesto a go the next time you’re craving a light (but delicious) healthy pasta dinner.

Curious about low-carb diets? Be sure to read this article on how to modify the keto diet specifically for women.

Kale Sunflower Pesto with Zoodles
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins

A spin on a classic— this is a super simple and low-carb pasta dish that's packed with flavour and nutrients (think vitamin c and b-vitamins) and is literally ready to eat in minutes!

Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian, Keto
Keyword: dairyfree, glutenfree, vegan
Servings: 2
Author: Justine Blackwell
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (about 3 cups), blanched and drained
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds *
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large zucchini spiralized
  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the kale and blanch for 30 seconds

  2. After 30 seconds, remove the kale from the water and strain it over the sink. Then squeeze the kale dry with a tea towel to remove as much excess water as possible

  3. In a high speed blender, add the drained kale and the remainder of the pesto ingredients. Blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula if needed

  4. The pesto should form a very smooth sauce. If it is not blending to your desired consistency, add more water tablespoon by tablespoon until the smooth consistency is reached

  1. Cut each zucchini in half and using a spiralizer, spiralize each piece into the shape of long pasta-like noodles

  2. Finally, combine the zoodles with the pesto until well combined and divide into 2 servings. Top with additional nutritional yeast, black pepper, or chili flakes*

Recipe Notes

*Easily swap out sunflower seeds for pistachio, almonds, or (the classic) pine nuts

*If you would like the dish to be warm, you can gently heat your zucchini noodles in a pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes

*If you do not have zucchini, use your favourite pasta noodles and prepare via package directions

Justine Blackwell

Justine is a Holistic Nutritionist based out of Vancouver, BC. She recently graduated from IHN and is pursuing her passions in food preparation and recipe development alongside online marketing. Justine loves to share the power of food and how it is so crucial in preventative medicine, while also affirming that healthy food can be delicious and simple to implement into an everyday lifestyle.

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