Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto
These Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto are juicy and flavorful. The steaks are seasoned with garlic and salt before grilling, then you top them with a fresh, vibrant kale pesto made with fresh kale leaves, a little basil, walnuts and Pecorino cheese.
Table of contents
Why We Love This Recipe For Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto
Forget basic steak sauce. This bright green kale pesto is so much prettier and tastier. Plus it provides a peppery, herbal, grassy counterpoint to the meaty grilled steak.
This recipe is perfect for a summer barbecue or even when you want something a little special on a busy night—it only takes 35 minutes to make. Serve this meaty steak with a glass of red wine for the perfect meal.
- This recipe is super quick. It takes just 35 minutes.
- Grilled steak is always delicious, but with the kale pesto it’s a little more special
- Great recipe for cookouts or when you want something easy but impressive for guests
Key Ingredients For This Steak with Pesto
- Garlic: the garlic is mashed into a paste and rubbed all over the steaks.
- Kosher Salt
- Rib Eye Steaks: Ribeye steaks are buttery, tender, and super flavorful. You can use sirloin steak or New York strip steak if you can’t find rib eye.
- Kale: Any kind of kale will work in this recipe including curly kale or lacinato. I would stick with a green kale for the sake of the color of the pesto.
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
- Walnuts or Pine Nuts: Either is fine or a mix of both. Pine nuts lead to a more traditional pesto flavor, however, they can be pricey and sometimes hard to find.
- Pecorino Romano or Parmesan: I like to use freshly shredded Pecorino or Parmesan for the best flavor.
- Lemon: Cut into wedges for serving.
How To Make This Steaks with Pesto Recipe
Step 1: Mash garlic & season steaks
Finely chop the garlic and sprinkle with salt. Mash with the side of the chef’s knife to form a garlic salt paste. Rub it all over the steaks and set them aside.
Step 2: Preheat grill
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Step 3: Make pesto
Meanwhile, with the motor of the food processor running, drop the remaining garlic through the feed tube and allow it to process until finely chopped. Open the lid and add kale and basil. Blend until the greens are finely chopped, then open the lid and add walnuts (or pinenuts), Romano (or Parmesan) and salt. Pulse to combine, scraping down the sides. With the motor still running, drizzle in the oil. Add up to an additional 1 tablespoon additional oil to loosen the pesto to desired consistency, if needed.
Step 4: Grill steaks
Grill the steaks, turning every 3 to 4 minutes until desired doneness, 8 to 11 minutes total for medium-rare or 14 minutes for medium-well. (Use an instant-read thermometer to check doneness. Steaks should be 135 degrees F for medium rare, 145 degrees for medium and 150 for medium well.)
Step 5: Serve Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto
Transfer the steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Let the steaks rest for at least 7 minutes, then serve with the kale pesto and lemon wedges.
FAQs and Expert Tips
Absolutely. As briefly mentioned earlier, there are various types you could use if you are looking for a substitute for rib-eye steak. You can try using other cuts of steak that are similar in texture and flavor. Some options include New York strip steak, T-bone steak, or porterhouse steak.
Cook the steak on the stove instead. Heat a skillet over medium-high, then add oil and place the steak in the pan. Sear the steak for 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, and 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium. Use tongs to flip the steak and avoid piercing it with a fork. (Use an instant-read thermometer to check doneness. Steaks should be 135 degrees F for medium rare, 145 degrees for medium and 150 for medium well.)
Yes! If you are in a rush, you can swap in store bought pesto or you can use homemade traditional basil pesto if that is your preference (or you happen to have it on hand.) If your pesto is too thick loosen it up by stirring in additional olive oil.
The kale pesto can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep covered (with plastic wrap pressed to the surface of the pesto) and in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Kale pesto can be frozen up to 3 months. I like to freeze pesto in a straight sided jar.
Wrap leftover steak in foil or transfer to a resealable container and refrigerate the leftover steak. Keep cold up to three days. We love leftover steak served cold, but it can be reheated. For best results (especially if you know there will be leftovers) do not slice the steak as it is easier to reheat when it is uncut.
Transform Your Leftover Steak into Steak Salad!
For a way to creatively transform your leftovers, and something a little different make the leftover steak and pesto into a salad: Whisk a little lemon or red wine vinegar and olive oil into the pesto to make it into a dressing. Mix with the sliced steak, cooked potatoes, tomatoes and thinly sliced red onions. Serve chilled or at room temperature for a delicious summertime lunch!
Serving Suggestions For Grilled Steaks
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
These Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto are juicy and flavorful. The steaks are seasoned with garlic and salt before grilling, then you top them with a fresh, vibrant pesto made with kale, basil, walnuts and Pecorino.
- 2 peeled cloves garlic, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided
- 4 1-inch rib-eye steaks
- 4 cups clean kale leaves, loosely packed
- 1 cup clean loosely packed basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
- ¼ cup walnuts or pine nuts
- ¼ cup shredded Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
- lemon wedges for serving
- Finely chop 1 clove garlic. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt over the garlic, and mash with the side of the chef’s knife to form a smooth garlic salt paste. Rub all over steaks and set aside.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, with motor of the food processor running, drop the remaining 1 clove garlic through the feed tube and allow to process until finely chopped. Open lid and add kale and basil and pulse and then process continuously until the greens are finely chopped. Open lid, add walnuts (or pinenuts), Romano (or Parmesan) and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Pulse to combine and scrape down the sides. With the motor running drizzle in 3 tablespoons oil. If needed, add up to an additional 1 tablespoon oil to loosen the pesto to desired consistency.
- Grill steaks, turning every 3 to 4 minutes until desired doneness, 8 to 11 minutes total for medium-rare or 14 minutes for medium-well. (Use an instant read thermometer to check doneness. Steaks should be 135 degrees F for medium rare, 145 degrees for medium and 150 for medium well.)
- Transfer steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Let steaks rest at least 7 minutes. Serve with the kale pesto and lemon wedges.
Stove-Top Instructions: Cook the steak on the stove instead. Heat a skillet over medium-high, then add oil and place the steak in the pan. Sear the steak for 1 to 2 minutes per side for rare, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium-rare, and 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium. Use tongs to flip the steak and avoid piercing it with a fork.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 4.5 oz steak plus 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto each
- Calories: 277
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 433 mg
- Fat: 23 g
- Saturated Fat: 8 g
- Carbohydrates: 5 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 16 g
I’ve been grilling corn every time I find fresh sweet corn for sale! I’ve been making tons of salads this summer and my new love to add to a salad is grilled Halloumi! This is a greek “grilling cheese” that is so delicious on a salad because it is filling and salty, and well, grilled!
I will be grilling your shrim scampi skewers tonight. They are perfect!
We grill everything – my favorite right now is grilled chicken tacos with grilled pineapple salsa
Our current BBQ favourite is grilling salmon with different fruit salsa’s on the side.
Grilled quite a variety of things this so far this summer – chicken, steaks, burgers, fish and of course – a bountiful selection of fresh and healthy seasonal veg as sides!
So far we’ve been cooking lots of grilled chicken, but I’m dying to try some zucchini and squash strips or even pizza. Love the cutting board!
The color of that pesto is just gorgeous! I feel like I’d put it on everything. I have a cutting board so similar to this one and it’s my absolute favorite. I also have a cutting board problem and can’t fit even one more into my cabinet!
There’s just too much gorgeousness going on here- that steak, that pesto, that carving board- I love it all!!
We have grilled a lot of chicken as well as Hamburgers and hot dogs
Chicken, Steak and burgers have been regulars with plenty of sides. Loving mushrooms with a splash of soy sauce served with the steak or burgers.
I always look forward to your emails with your healthy recipes. I grill many items, but recently as the garden produces it’s bounty, I enjoy grilling some of the veggies.
I don’t use a grill but I’ve put my wok and cast iron skillet to good use this summer with lots of veggies from the garden and farmer’s market along with chicken, beef, or seafood. I absolutely love pesto but have never tried it with rosemary. I’ll definitely try your recipe.
I’ve been grilling lots of shrimp and romaine in my grill pan on the stovetop.
We’ve been grilling lots of burgers & dogs and chicken. Shrimp and asparagus today!
This had me drooling on the way home from work. OMG so good looking! Definitely #onthemenu