Kale Pesto Sandwich

I love kale but not everybody does. One trick to getting others to enjoy it is to make pesto with it! If you garden or get a CSA (community supported agriculture) box, you might be getting lots of kale right now. If you don’t have kale, you can make pesto with another type of fresh green.

My favorite kale is the dinosaur variety because it’s slightly sweeter and more delicate than the more common curly kale. Dinosaur kale has dark blue-green leaves with an embossed texture.

This is what dinosaur kale looks like for those unfamiliar.

Photo taken by Oregon State University dining marketing

In this entree the kale pesto will be used in a sandwich made with Hawaiian dinner rolls. These rolls are fluffy and have a delicious hint of sweetness. I pick up a package when I get the chance. My son likes to eat them plain. I think they go great with homemade pesto or hummus.

How to make this dish

Hazelnut kale pesto

  • 2 cups dinosaur kale
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup salted, roasted hazelnut
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbs minced jalapeno
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Wash kale, basil, and parsley. Remove tough stem from kale and parsley. Rough chop.

In a food processor, add all ingredients except oil. Process until all ingredients are minced. Scrape the sides of the processor if necessary. Turn on food processor and drizzle in oil. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Stop and scrape down the sides if necessary. Taste for seasoning.

You can thin out the pesto with more oil if you’re using this pesto for pasta dishes.


  • 8 Hawaiian dinner rolls, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut pesto
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 8 slices of Gouda cheese
  • 16 pieces sliced turkey
  • Butter leaf lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Red onion thinly sliced
  • Avocado sliced

If you prefer to make your sandwich vegetarian, leave out the turkey!

Cut the rolls in half, horizontally, keeping all top and bottom halves separately in tact.

Mix mayo and pesto together in a bowl. Set aside. Warm up turkey and cheese in a non-stick electric skillet or griddle. Spray griddle with non-stick spray. Lay two pieces of turkey and top with cheese.

You can skip this top process if you want a quick meal. I like mine heated with melted cheese.

Spread pesto mayo on both cut side of the rolls. Place lettuce, tomatoes, onion and turkey in the bottom part of the rolls. Top with heated turkey. Cover the turkey with top half of rolls.

Makes 8 sandwiches

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