Pesto pasta is a wonderful dish – it’s creamy, zesty and wonderfully satisfying, but it can also be quite fatty. It doesn’t necessarily have to be, though! Kale pesto makes for a delightfully tasty substitute from standard basil pesto and incorporates the healthier benefits of kale, including all of the nutrients and vitamins it offers, helping to balance out the oil and cheese in traditional pesto.
It’s also incredibly delicious and has become one of my favorite dishes to make, as I always have fresh or frozen kale for making delicious meals. Pesto traditionally uses basil, walnuts, lemon juice, garlic and parmesan, but by replacing the basil with kale, you can easily have some of this delicious pesto around for anything and everything.
Pasta with Kale: A Delicious Combination
Kale pesto can be used for a lot of unique dishes, ranging from tomato, mozzarella and pesto sandwiches and pizza options to salads and more. I opted to use this kale pesto to make a delicious pasta dish, which I think really shows off the flavorful blend of ingredients that go into it.
I love impressing guests with this dish, as pesto often seems like a novelty pasta sauce to a lot of my friends. It makes a great dinner or lunch but can also be used as a side for more festive dinners like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Plus, it’s extremely easy to make and takes only a little bit of time to prepare and cook all of the ingredients. So why not get a little green with your dinner? Here’s my choice for the best kale pesto and pasta recipe out there.
- 4 cups kale, chopped with ribs and stems removed
- 1 pound pasta, bowtie or farfalle
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 large lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup parmesan, freshly grated
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Begin by preparing your ingredients. Remove the ribs and stems from bunches of kale to reach 4 cups and mince your garlic. Using the fine side of a cheese grater, remove zest from the lemon to reach one tablespoon. Set the lemon aside for juice.
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Drain and reserve a small amount of the pasta water (about 2 tablespoons).
- Add the chopped kale to a food processor along with the olive oil, parmesan, ¼ cup lemon juice, garlic, walnuts, salt and pepper. Blend the mixture until smooth. The result should be a thick, smooth kale pesto sauce – add more olive oil if needed. Sample the resulting pesto and add any additional lemon juice, salt or pepper.
- Add about a half cup of pesto to the pasta and stir until coated. Add the lemon zest and additional pesto sauce to your liking.
- Serve warm and enjoy.