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Easy Kale Pesto Pasta

Let’s talk pasta!

One thing I love about meal prep, is using pasta! Pasta gets a bad reputation for being just laden with carbs and lacking in nutrients. However, that can’t be further from the truth. It’s actually the perfect medium to get more veggies on your plate and you can even utilize healthier sauces and pasta varieties. If you’re not about white pasta, you can effortlessly mix it up with healthier alternatives. Today, there are endless options!

Bonus, it terms of leftover, it’s still good the next day!

One of my favorite classic dishes, is a pesto pasta! Believe it or not, you can pack on all the greens when making the staple pesto sauce. From kale to spinach, the options are endless and it won’t overpower the flavor. Needless to say, I knew we needed a kale pesto as it’s such a must try. While many may have tried this concept and found the final result underwhelming, that’s probably bc the the fibrous kale wasn’t broken down prior to making the sauce.

To make the kale more pliable it’s best to blanch it prior to throwing it in a blender. This way it blends easier and your sauce will have texture, but not be one thick mess.

What’s also great about this pesto?

It contains less oil and uses pasta water to achieve the desired consistency! 

This pesto not only packs spinach, but contains less oil, has notes go garlic, lemon, you can use vegan cheese, and it even has a lil fiery kick! Wanting to use this sauce for different dishes? You absolutely can! It even makes a great cold pasta salad!

What’s great about this dish? Everything! It’s savory, it’s nutty, it’s veggie packed, you can use the sauce for other dishes, you can even add spinach, you can use nutritional yeast for a vegan version, it can easily be made in bulk, you can switch up the pasta and even do zucchini noddles, the sauce can be made completely smooth if you’d like to throw it in the blender for longer and with more pasta water, you can switch up the nuts, and it’s just so good you don’t even need a protein!

If you have an affinity for all things pasta or pesto, you have to try this new Kale Pesto Pasta!

Why this recipe is great: 



It packs tons of kale 

Minimal ingredients


Perfect for any season

Can be made fully vegan

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Easy Kale Pesto Pasta

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  • Author: Gabrielle
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed flat and peeled
  • 1 pound kale, thick ribs removed
  • 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound pasta, like pappardelle or rigatoni
  • 3/4 cup parmesan or vegan parm
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Put a large pot of generously salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil. In a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic, and cook until the garlic begins to sizzle. Reduce heat to low, and cook very gently until garlic is soft and begins to turn light gold, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. When water is boiling, add kale leaves, and cook until tender, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Pull out the hot, dripping kale leaves with tongs, and put directly into a blender. (Don’t drain the pot; you’ll use that same boiling water to cook the pasta.) Add garlic and its oil to the blender, along with the pine nuts, parmesan, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Add 1/4 cup or more of the hot water from the pot if you need some more liquid to get the blender going. Blend into a fine, thick green purée. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, then blend again.
  3. Add the pasta to the still-boiling water, and cook according to directions on the package. Ladle out about a cup of the water to save for finishing the dish, then drain the pasta and return it to the dry pot.
  4. Add the kale purée and a splash of the reserved pasta water. Toss until all the pasta is well coated and bright green, adding another splash of pasta water if needed so that the sauce is loose and almost creamy in texture. Serve in bowls right away, and top with an extra drizzle of olive oil and additional parmesan and more toasted pine nuts if desired.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins

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