Treat yourself to this delicious Kale Pesto Pasta tonight!
This easy recipe features a wonderful homemade sauce that takes minutes to make, fresh tomatoes, and delicious feta cheese. Best of all the whole dish is ready in under half an hour, and it's bursting with flavor!
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Looking for unique ways to use kale? This delicious Kale Pesto Pasta is it.
You probably know that I love leafy, green veggie if you've hung around here for any length of time. There's just so many ways to enjoy it, plus it super healthy. I honestly can't get enough, so I'm try to spread the love!
This easy pasta recipe is a recent fave, and it features a clever way to use kale. I'm sure you already know and adore classic Basil Pesto Sauce, but did you know that you can make pesto with different herbs and even greens, like kale?
Kale is perfect for pesto. It makes a scrumptious sauce that's bursting with flavor, and when paired with pasta, tomatoes and feta, the results are irresistible!
Best of all, this delicious recipe takes under 30 minutes to prepare. You can't beat that, so keep reading to learn how to make it for dinner tonight!
This delicious pasta recipe uses simple, easy to find ingredients.
The homemade kale pesto is made with kale (any kind, including Tuscan, dinosaur, or curly, works), walnuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and Parmesan cheese. Make sure to use fresh lemon juice and garlic, as well as a good quality Parmesan (avoid the pre-shredded or powdered stuff), because those are the ingredients that make the flavors pop.
To finish off the pasta, you'll need spaghetti, feta cheese, and grape tomatoes. I like using grape tomatoes for this recipe, because they taste great year round. In summer, feel free to substitute your favorite farmers market / garden tomatoes, like cherry or heirloom tomatoes.
I kept things pretty basic here ... on purpose! I love quick, yet flavorful meals like this simple Kale Pasta.
This recipe is ripe for a little kitchen creativity though, so don't be afraid to experiment. Here are some ideas:
- Veggies - This pasta would taste amazing with roasted grape tomatoes (toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil, then roast at 425 for about 15 to 20 minutes). You could also add sautéed / roasted kale or mushrooms, as well as your favorite roasted vegetables.
- Pasta - Spaghetti is my first choice for this dish, but pesto works well with other shapes, too. Try another long slender shape, like linguine, or something with a twist, like fusilli, farfalle, or cavatappi.
- Herbs - Have some herbs on hand that you need to use up? Toss them in with the kale.
- Nuts - Substitute almonds, pine nuts, or pecans for the walnuts in the pesto. Anything goes.
- Nut Free - It's fine to skip the nuts if you're allergic. You could also replace them with a seed, such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), or hemp seeds.
- Cheese - Swap out the feta for goat cheese, fresh mozzarella, or even queso fresco.
- Vegan / Dairy Free - Skip the Parmesan and Feta. If you'd like, you can add a little nutritional yeast to the pesto instead of the parm.
- Gluten Free - The pesto is already gluten free, so just make sure to use GF pasta.
You Will Also Need
How to Make Kale Pesto Pasta
To make this recipe in under 30 minutes, you'll prepare the pasta and make the sauce at the same time. Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of boiling, generously salted water.
I usually add one generous palmful of salt (about two to three tablespoons) per large pot of water when making pasta. Don't worry, all that salt is not going to be absorbed into your pasta! The salty water is going to make the finished dish so more flavorful though.
Once the pasta is al dente (tender, but still slightly firm in the center), reserve one cup of pasta cooking water, then drain it in a colander.
Making the Sauce
While the spaghetti cooks, you'll make the homemade pesto sauce. Start by pulsing the garlic and walnuts to your food processor until they're finely chopped.
Next, you'll add the kale, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and salt. Blend all the ingredients together until the pesto is mostly smooth.
Taste your pesto, then add additional salt and lemon juice to taste. The pesto is the main flavor component in this recipe, so you really want the flavors to pop! It should taste fresh and lemony.
Combining the Pasta and Sauce
Once you've drained the pasta, return it to the pot you cooked it in (off the heat). Add the pesto, then toss the spaghetti and sauce together.
As you mix the pasta, add just enough of the reserved pasta water to create a cohesive sauce that coats the pasta. You probably won't need the whole cup.
When the pasta is coated with the pesto, add in the grape tomatoes and feta. Give your Kale Pesto Pasta another quick toss, then it's time to eat!
Wasn't that easy? I love how quickly this tasty recipe comes together ... it's perfect for busy weeknights and lazy weekends!
This Kale Spaghetti makes an easy meal in a bowl any night of the week. No sides necessary.
Of course, for a full carb on carb situation, you simply can't beat classic Garlic Bread. Yum!
If you loved this delicious Kale Pesto Pasta, try one of these recipes next:
- Kale Pizza (Uses the same sauce!)
- Basil Pesto Pasta
- Cilantro Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta
- Easy Tomato Basil Pasta
- Butternut Squash Lasagna with Kale and Mushrooms
- Kale Pasta Salad
Looking for more kale or pesto ideas? Check out my How to Use Pesto guide for 30 easy recipes ideas. And you can find all of my kale Recipes here ... everything from salads to savory pies, and so much more! And
Kale Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)
- 1 large clove garlic
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cups chopped kale (packed)
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ⅓ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente.
- Remove 1 cup of pasta cooking water (set aside), then drain pasta in a colander.
- While pasta cooks, pulse walnuts and garlic clove in a food processor until finely chopped.
- Add kale, olive oil, Parmesan, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and salt. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Taste, then season with additional lemon juice and salt, if desired. Set aside.
- When pasta is finished cooking, return to pot (off heat). Add pesto.
- Mix pasta and pesto together using a pair of tongs or two wood spoons. Add just enough of the pasta cooking water to help the pesto evenly coat the pasta.
- When pasta and pesto are mostly combined, add tomatoes and feta. Toss to combine.
- Serve pasta hot. Enjoy!