Today's Recipe of the Day is Zooey's famous dairy-free pesto recipe that she puts on almost everything: Pasta, salad, soup, and more, adding a boost of flavor to these simple dishes. But, there's one caveat: The key to the most delicious sauce calls for using fresh herbs and vegetables because the quality makes a big difference in texture and taste.

For Zooey, most of her plant-based dishes are made with fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables grown from her Lettuce Grow, a hydroponic growing system she co-founded with film producer Jacob Pechenik. The structure makes it so easy to eat healthier with fresh food at your fingertips, it's like having a farmer's market in your living room or backyard.

The best part about this recipe is that it's ready in less than 10 minutes and you can store leftovers in the fridge, ready to spice up your plant-based meals, including tofu. All you need are your fresh ingredients, a high-speed blender, and voilà! You have yourself a creamy, healthy sauce that works well on everything.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids Are Especially Important For Vegans & Anyone with Heart Disease

The ingredients call for kale, basil, lemon juice, walnuts, olive oil, garlic, and dairy-free parmesan, which you can find in your local grocery store or shop online. Walnuts are a great source of Omega 3s, a fatty acid especially important to plant-based eaters since there are limited vegan foods containing this mineral (it's commonly found in fish oil). Omega 3s are also important for anyone with heart disease because they help lower blood pressure and helps lessen the chance of having a heart attack, according to WebMD. Aside from these conditions, Omega 3s can also help fight depression, anxiety, inflammation, and improve eye health and help clear skin.

"This modern twist on classic pesto is packed with nutrients, but its delicious depth tastes like an indulgence. Walnuts, lemon, and freshly picked kale are wonderful compliments to the more traditional ingredients." -Zooey Deschanel

Zooey’s Kale and Basil Pesto


  • 4 kale leaves- parboiled for 2 min
  • A large bunch (or about a cup) of Genovese basil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt
  • 3 tbsp raw walnuts
  • ½ cup high-quality olive oil (one that tastes great to you!)
  • 1 clove of garlic or shallot
  • ½ cup of vegan parmesan


  1. Toss all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor or a blender and process until you reach the perfect texture.
  2. Consider this a chance to choose your own adventure: I love smooth, saucy pesto, so I typically reach for my blender.
  3. If you prefer a more textured and choppy pesto, then definitely try a food processor instead.
  4. After just minutes, you’ll be ready to serve your one-of-a-kind creation on pasta or in a salad. You can also garnish your favorite soup or flatbread. Honestly, it’s great on everything!
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