Kale Pesto Pasta Recipe


One of the best ways to love your body this spring is to eat more dark green leafy vegetables! As we wait to harvest the lettuces and spinach in our newly planted gardens, kale is a readily available green. I love pasta and I love pesto, which is typically made from basil and pine nuts, but during this time of year to get the extra nutrients and fibre that kale provides, it’s a fabulous substitute and incredibly tasty!

If you’re dairy free, simply eliminate the cheese. I tried this recipe last week using macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts (because that’s what I had in the fridge) and now I’m wishing I had a macadamia nut tree in my backyard!

Kale Pesto Pasta

Prep Time: 30 minutes                 Makes: 4 servings


4 cups stemmed, chopped kale (dinosaur or black or green kale)
1/2 – 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (reserve some for topping)
6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Prepared whole grain pasta (or Roasted spaghetti squash)


Prepping the base

  1. Prepare whole grain pasta according to package instructions (remember to keep it al dente!) or roast spaghetti squash:
    1. Preheat your to 425 degrees. Cut your squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle on about 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper. Place cut side down on. Roast until squash is tender and is easily pierced with a knife or fork. Depending on the size or your squash this may take about 1 hour.
    2. Let your squash cool (so you can handle it). Use a fork and gently scrape squash – it will start breaking up into spaghetti like strands, and pop that in a bowl. Now you have roasted spaghetti squash ready for pesto

Prepping the pesto

  1. Prepare pesto while pasta is cooking
  2. Steam kale over a minimal amount of water for 3 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Blend kale in food processor or blender, with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Save some cheese for topping your meal.
  4. If pesto is too thick, add 1-2 Tbsp of the cooking water from the pasta to the pesto.
  5. Drain pasta and mix with pesto. Serve sprinkled with cheese if desired.

This is one of my favourite ways to eat kale (smoothies are great but there are times I want something to sink my teeth into) and with the warm weather coming, it’s a nice light meal, great for any day of the week!  Enjoy!


About the Author

Sharon-450w-Profile-e1426186467980Sharon Pendlington, B.Sc., R.H.N., RYT is a Holistic Nutritionist and Yoga Instructor, and founder of Personal Nutrition. Sharon helps women frustrated by their symptoms of hormone imbalance to feel energetic and vital again. She  combines her knowledge of these practices together to bring greater health to her clients.


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