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Spicy Kale Pesto + Zucchini Noodles

Spicy Kale Pesto and zucchini noodles are a simple meal that’s light, refreshing, and tastes so good! Plus, it’s fairly quick to make and great for to-go lunches as well.

a top down view of a bowl of zucchini noodles tossed with spicy kale pesto and avocado and fork

After making these raw zucchini wraps with kale pesto a few weeks ago, vegan kale pesto has become a regular habit. I made the pesto in this recipe a little differently, adding red pepper flakes for heat and nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor.

Paired with spiralized zucchini noodles and finished off with a dusting of almond parmesan, this spicy kale pesto is another great recipe for the raw recipe collection!

Kale is king of the leafy greens, and the more we can incorporate it into our meal plans, the better. I hope to inspire others to join in on this nutritional powerhouse green in a way that tastes amazing!

top down view of spicy vegan kale pesto in a glass jar with wooden spoon

Ingredients You’ll Need

In this recipe, zucchini is spiralized, creating fresh vegetable ‘noodles,’ and tossed with a spicy kale pesto for a light and refreshing lunch or dinner.

Here is everything you will need:

  • Zucchini
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Kale (flat or curly)
  • Almonds
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Lemon
  • Almond parmesan
  • salt & cracked pepper

Adjusting For Dietary Restrictions

  • Nut-Free: To make kale pesto nut-free, in place of almonds, sub pepitas, sunflower seeds. Or add a few tablespoons of tahini for creaminess.
  • Oil-Free: Make this oil-free by omitting the oil using veggie broth or water.

a bowl full of zucchini noodles

How To Make Vegan Kale Pesto + Zucchini Noodles

  • Kale Pesto: Making vegan kale pesto is surprisingly easy. Simply add the ingredients, including kale, almonds, garlic, olive oil, lemon, red pepper flakes, salt and optional nutritional yeast into a food processor or blender. Blend until fairly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed.
  • Zucchini Noodles: It’s easy to make curly zucchini noodles using a spirilizer (<affiliate link). You can also use a julienne tool to make straight zucchini noodles.

Can I Use Other Vegetable Noodles?

Yes! Try spiralizing a yellow summer squash, cucumber, sweet potato, or beet. All are fantastic, healthy, and a nice way to eat noodles that are low fat, low calories, and nutrient-dense.

How To Store Leftovers

Refrigerator: Kale pesto and zucchini noodles can be stored in the refrigerator, together or separately, for up to 3 – 4 days.

Freezer: The pesto is freezer-friendly and can stored in freezer-safe containers for up to 2 months. Let thaw before using. Zucchini noodles do not freeze well.

More Ways To Use Kale Pesto

Kale blends up into a thick paste and can be used in a variety of ways. Toss it with your favorite pasta or spiralized vegetable noodles. Use it as a condiment and spread it on sandwiches, burgers, or grilled bread. It’s also fantastic as a dip for fresh and roasted veggies!

a side view of a bowl of zucchini noodles tossed with spicy kale pesto

More Easy Pesto Recipes!

If you try this spicy kale pesto recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 3 reviews

Vegan spicy kale pesto and spiralized zucchini noodles makes a great light lunch, dinner or to-go meal.


  • 3 large zucchini (1 per person), give or take, spiralized or julienned
  • grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • almond parmesan, for topping
  • salt & cracked pepper


  • 1 bunch kale, about 4 cups or 10 medium-large leaves, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 34 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 12 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
  • himalayan salt, to taste
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • juice of 1 small lemon


Pesto: Place ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency. Add more olive oil (or water) if desired and taste for seasoning, set aside. 

Zucchini Noodles: I use a spiralizer to get my curly noodle effect. You can also use a julienne tool or julienne them by hand creating a straight noodle.

To Serve: Combine the kale, tomatoes and noodles together in a medium size bowl and transfer to individual serving dishes. Top with a dusting of almond parmesan and enjoy!

Serves 3

Store: Leftovers kale pesto can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. If storing noodles and pesto together, best eaten within 2 – 3 days.


To make the kale pesto nut free, in place of almonds, sub in 1/4 – 1/3 cup of pepitas, sunflower seeds. Or add a few tablespoons of tahini for creaminess.

For the noodles, try spiralizing a yellow summer squash, sweet potato, or yellow/red beet.

RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT: I love my Spiralizer, to create curly veggie noodles but this julienne tool works great creating straight noodles (affiliate links)!

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  1. I would love to make this but unfortunately not with the zuchinni noodles. Will this pesto work also just with regular noodles or is it specifically and better just with the zuchinni noodles?

    1. Julie | The Simple Veganista says:

      Great question, Mariana! You can use any noodles you like with this vegan kale pesto. I was just offering an idea of using fresh zucchini noodles, but any type of pasta will work. Enjoy!

  2. Nikki Harrison says:

    This was delicious!!
    So surprised, loved it ❤️

  3. Shelly A. Davis says:

    I made for dinner last night, it was absolutely delicious!

  4. Anonymous says:

    This was so good! I don't have any tomatoes and I made this recipe not raw by adding white beans. The white beans made this recipe absolutely heavenly and it was so filling! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      That sounds wonderful! The beans are a good addition, especially to add in some protein. :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    do you cook the "noodles?"

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Ideally this is a raw recipe so you would not cook the noodles. It's very good and refreshing at room temperature. If you feel that you need to heat the noodles, I would suggest heating them gently for a very minimal amount of time…just enough to warm them.

  6. I am making this tomorrow for lunch! I made a really delicious mixed noodle stir fry (all raw of course) the other day and I was dreaming of pesto with the noodles! I am going to try this one! thanks xx

    1. julie@thesimpleveganista says:

      Sounds like a good mix with your noodle stir fry…enjoy!

  7. Freda Love Smith says:

    Thank you for inspring me to make pesto out of kale! I've been using spinach and parsley, but I've never thought to use lacinato kale, and I am always looking for ways to get more kale into our meals. This recipe really makes me want to invest in a spiralizer too – your noodles are gorgeous!

    1. Your so welcome! I'm glad this sparked an idea! This is really tasty, of course your taste may be a bit different and you may add/subtract things but it's really a great way get our kale in. The noodle maker is fun and makes perfect noodles in a cinch…definitely a nice investment if you plan on eating them fairly often. :)

  8. Melissa A says:

    Looks and sounds delicisous. I am going to give this a try. Thank you for sharing. =)

  9. Emily von Euw says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. I just ate dinner but now I am hungry again!


    1. Thank you Emily! There's always room for a little extra, especially with veggies. :)

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