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.

the sliced steak with the pesto on it on a plate with potato salad with herbs

I originally shared this recipe on July 24, 2015. I have updated some of the content to share it with you again today.

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.

Recipe Highlights

  • 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

the steak and ingredients for the pesto on a white surface with text overlay
  • 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

make garlic paste and preheat the grill

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.

make pesto, grill steaks

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.)

rest steaks

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.

the grilled steak, sliced on a carving board with lemon

FAQs and Expert Tips

Can I use another cut of beef?

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.

No grill? No Problem!

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.)

Can I use store-bought pesto?

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.

Make Ahead

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.

Leftovers

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!

At Healthy Seasonal Recipes, we specialize in cooking with fresh veggies and creating weeknight meals. Sign up HERE to get more produce-forward dinner ideas for FREE! 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! ~Katie

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sliced steaks with kale pesto

Grilled Steaks with Kale Pesto


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  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

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.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 peeled cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 1/2 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
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded Pecorino Romano or Parmesan
  • lemon wedges for serving

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. Transfer steaks to a plate and cover with foil. Let steaks rest at least 7 minutes. Serve with the kale pesto and lemon wedges.

Notes

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

Nutrition

  • 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