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An Athlete's Take

Walnut-basil pesto with spinach and kale

As an athlete, I have come to appreciate the benefits of eating foods made from simple, raw ingredients that are as delicious as they are wholesome. One of my favorite recipes is a very tasty walnut-basil pesto with spinach and kale. I have enjoyed this pesto as a standalone snack, just eating it by the spoonful, as a compliment to baked sweet potatoes and of course, pasta dishes. The walnuts add great texture as well as protein and healthy fats, while the basil, spinach, and kale pack in the vitamins and antioxidants. This recipe serves as many as six average persons or one to two endurance athletes.


1 cup raw shelled walnuts (add slightly more for a thicker pesto)

4-5 cloves of garlic

3 cups fresh basil leaves

2 cups fresh spinach or kale (I do 1 cup of each)

2/3 cup light olive or avocado oil

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (provides a light-buttery flavor)

¾ tsp sea salt (or more to taste)


Combine walnuts, garlic, basil, spinach or kale, olive oil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend or process on high speed until a paste forms, scraping as needed. Enjoy with pretty much anything!