Food & Drink

Collard Pesto

Makes 1 ½ cups

Move over basil, this wintry Southern green is the star

Photo: Jacqueline Stofsick

Winter greens like collards, mustard, kale, or chard make hearty substitutes for summer basil in this easy no-cook pesto, replacing the herb’s anise flavors with stronger mustardy tones. It’s a natural, of course, for pasta, but its earthy accent also lends itself well to roasted meats, as a base for pizza, or as a sandwich spread.


    • ⅓ cup toasted pecan halves

    • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, peeled

    • About 1 cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, such as Georgia Olive Farms

    • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

    • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

    • 3 cups stemmed and chopped collard greens

    • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine the pecans, garlic, ¼ cup of the oil, the cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice and blend or pulse several times to combine. Add the greens a handful at a time and blend or pulse to combine. Slowly pour the remaining ¾ cup oil, with the motor running, until the pesto reaches the desired consistency. Add the salt and pepper, adjusting the seasoning if desired, pulsing one final time to combine. Serve immediately.

  2. Store any remaining pesto in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 6 months. Before sealing the container, pour a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto to prevent discoloration.

Recipe from Garden & Gun’s The Southerner’s Cookbook