Click Here to get free weekly recipes and exclusive giveaways.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto Recipe

by Jeanette on March 6, 2013 · 18 Comments
Don't miss out on any recipes! Sign up for my weekly e-newsletter. Simply click here to subscribe. You can also subscribe to my cooking videos on YouTube here.
1.9K Flares Twitter 32 Facebook 41 Pin It Share 1.6K Google+ 70 StumbleUpon 173 Email -- Filament.io 1.9K Flares ×

Grilled Cheese with Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto © Jeanette's Healthy LivingI’m always trying to sneak in vegetables at snack time and meal time. Kale, being a power food, is one vegetable that I would like to incorporate into more of my kids’ meals. Although sauteed kale is not their favorite, I’ve found that they will eat it by the spoonfuls if I make pesto out of it. That’s where this Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto comes into play.

Recently, I spotted a recipe for Pumpkin Seed Pesto made with toasted pumpkin seeds and decided to give it a try. However, as I started making the recipe, I got the brilliant idea of bumping up the nutrition of this pesto even more by adding kale (high in fiber,  vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese) and artichoke hearts (high in fiber and vitamin C). I’ve made Kale Pesto before, but never with artichoke hearts and toasted pumpkin seeds.

I have to confess I ate a few spoonfuls of this straight out of the food processor, before spreading some on homemade whole grain naan chips. When my kids came home after school, they were starving (so what else is new?). What a great opportunity to try to pack (sneak) in some vegetables. That way, even if they’re not very hungry at dinnertime, I know that they’ve eaten something that’s healthier than most snacks. On the upside, my kids might even get a few extra servings of vegetables by the end of the day.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto © Jeanette's Healthy Living

One afternoon, I made a grilled cheese sandwich for my youngest son, with a few dollops of this Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto. He loved it and asked me what was in it. I hesitated to tell him that there was kale in it lest he decide he didn’t want it anymore. After he was done smacking his lips from devouring his grilled cheese, I told him.

I’ve been putting dollops of this kale pesto anywhere I can think of to boost nutrition in my kids’ after-school snacks and meals, including on top of mini pizzas and inside a baked vegetarian pasta the other night. They’ve loved all the different ways I’ve snuck in this kale pesto…actually, they have no idea that I’ve been doing this so please don’t tell.

Today, I’m participating in Food Network’s Comfort Food Feast where Grilled Cheese is being featured. Please be sure to check out what all my talented foodie friends made:

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Grilled Cheese With Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Cooking With Elise: Inside-Out Grilled Cheese With Bacon
Red or Green?: Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Red or Green-Style
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Weelicious: Kentucky Hot Brown Panini
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Cheddar, Apple and Arugula Sandwich
The Sensitive Epicure: Individual Goat Cheese Mac & Cheese (Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free)
Devour: Caramelized Onion Grilled Cheese
Thursday Night Dinner: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
The Heritage Cook: Open Faced Grilled Halloumi Sandwiches
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Muhammara Grilled Cheese
Feed Me Phoebe: Mexi Grilled Cheese With Avocado, Pepper Jack and Refried Black Beans
Daily*Dishin: Grilled Jarlsberg and Black Forest Ham With a Surprise
FN Dish: Grilled Cheese Goes Beyond Cheese

5 from 1 reviews
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto is a great way to sneak some vegetables into your kids' meals - put dollops of it on top of pizza, inside baked ziti or lasagna, tossed with pasta (use pasta water to thin it out).
Serves: ~ 2 cups
Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cups kale leaves (5 ounces)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup water or more
  • 1 cup cooked artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  • gluten free rolls or bread
  • olive oil
  • low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded or sliced
Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add pumpkin seeds. Saute pumpkin seeds until they pop a little and puff up, about 4 minutes. They do not all have to be brown. Add one chopped garlic clove and cook for one minute. Transfer to a plate to cool.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add kale leaves and cook for a minute, until kale loses its chalky taste. Drain well. Place kale, one chopped garlic clove, salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, water, artichoke hearts, cilantro leaves, scallions, and lemon juice. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add a little more water if you like a thinner consistency.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
  1. Spread a generous amount of on one side of roll or slice of bread. Top with a slice of cheese or some shredded cheese. Lightly brush outside of roll or bread with olive oil. Grill on a panini press or in a cast iron skillet until nicely browned on both sides.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I adore sandwiches, and kale is so very good for you! What a delicious pesto recipe. It would taste good on so many different things. Thank you for sharing, I’m glad I found your blog today!

  2. How inventive! We love this!

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut ‘N Clean Greens

  3. What a beautiful looking sandwich! I love all of the greens! 😀

  4. YUM! I love this recipe and I am all about fancy grilled cheese sandwiches.

  5. I would love this Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Kale Artichoke Pumpkin Seed Pesto for lunch. Yum!

  6. Now this is the way to do a grilled cheese sandwich, Jeanette! I’d be tempted to eat some of that pesto straight, too.

  7. I am pretty sure my kids would still be suspicious of the green stuff in this, but I think it looks wonderful!

  8. And I thought I’d tried every kind of pesto out there… I guess not! Pumpkin seeds? That’s kind of brilliant!

  9. This is going on my must-make list. It sounds absolutely incredible!

  10. Wow I’m loving grilled cheese this week and this looks delicious!

  11. I love kale in pesto and the pumpkin seeds are a nice touch. I started my husband on kale this way and now he gobbles it up anyway I serve it. I think its just a matter of getting the taste buds used to it (its slightly bitter) and then its easy sailing. This pesto is great for newbies and kale oldies a like. Beautiful recipe Jeanette.

  12. This looks absolutely amazing Jeanette! My kids are still fickle about kale, but the do love grilled cheese and artichokes, so maybe…. :-)

  13. Ooo, pumpkin seed pesto sounds divine!

  14. If you could just send one my way, that would be awesome :)

  15. The green color might be a giveaway that there are vegetables in it, but this pesto looks wonderful and I look forward to trying it.

  16. I am a pesto enthusiast, but I’ve never thought to try this combo! It looks fantastic and so incredibly flavorful. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. This looks wonderful and fabulous for sneaking in some extra veggies for my son and hubby hehe. Thank you for the brilliant recipe and I love your blog!

    • Thanks Kelly – I’m always looking for new ways to get my kids (and their friends) to eat more vegetables. Pesto is a great way to do this.

Leave a Comment


Rate this recipe:  

1.9K Flares Twitter 32 Facebook 41 Pin It Share 1.6K Google+ 70 StumbleUpon 173 Email -- Filament.io 1.9K Flares ×