Kale Pesto Pasta

Kale plays a starring role in this Kale Pesto Pasta. A flavor-packed, creamy pesto sauce coats whole wheat linguine pasta for a satisfying and healthy meatless meal.

Kale Pesto Pasta - pasta tossed with creamy pesto and toasty pine nuts.  A healthy meatless meal!

Today I’ve got another easy meal to add to your repertoire. Because who doesn’t love a recipe that’s quick to make on a weeknight, yet so good that you will look forward to dinner time all day? All it takes to get this Kale Pesto Pasta on the table is: (1) mix up the pesto sauce, which is takes just minutes in the food processor, and (2) boil some pasta. Add in a salad and some bread to make a complete meal.

Kale Pesto Pasta - pasta tossed with creamy pesto and toasty pine nuts.  A healthy meatless meal!

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Brad and I couldn’t stop raving about this Kale Pesto Pasta as we were eating it. The pesto is packed with flavor and nutrition. We’ve got kale, basil, Parmesan, toasty pine nuts, and garlic going on here. Whole wheat linguine gets all deliciously coated with the creamy pesto sauce and toasted pine nuts add more flavor and crunch on top. And it’s healthy, too. Kale = superfood = yummy dinner you can feel good about eating. I cannot wait to make this meal again, even after eating it three times (leftovers!) last week.

Kale Pesto Pasta - pasta tossed with creamy pesto and toasty pine nuts.  A healthy meatless meal!

Did my kids like this Kale Pesto Pasta? Sort of. William enjoyed it, and called it Green Spider Pasta. He thought the cut up linguine looked like spider legs on his fork. Maybe I should go with his name for this dish. It is sort of catchy, isn’t it?

This wasn’t Julia’s favorite dinner, but she did eat some of it without too much of a fuss. I guess it can’t compare to chicken tenders. 🙂 Though she wouldn’t admit to liking this pasta, even with a name like Green Spider Pasta. That girl. So stubborn. (Wonder where she gets that from…)

Kale Pesto Pasta - pasta tossed with creamy pesto and toasty pine nuts.  A healthy meatless meal!

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Kale Pesto Pasta
 
Kale plays a starring role in this Kale Pesto Pasta. A flavor-packed, creamy pesto sauce coats whole wheat linguine pasta for a satisfying and healthy meatless meal.
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. whole wheat linguine
  • 2 cups chopped kale, packed
  • 1 cup fresh basil, lightly packed
  • ¾ cup (2 oz.) grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • ¾ cup toasted pine nuts, divided
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Directions
  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain; return pasta to the pot.
  2. In a food processor, combine kale, basil, grated Parmesan, ½ cup pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Process until everything is finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the processor running, pour in the olive oil through the feed tube and process until incorporated.
  3. Add the pesto to the pasta in the pot and toss to combine, adding a little of the reserved pasta cooking water if needed to loosen the sauce. (I forgot to reserve some pasta water - oops - and mine was fine without it.) Serve topped with the reserved toasted pine nuts and grated Parmesan.
While we prefer this pesto with a combination of kale and basil, if fresh basil is not available it is also delicious made with just kale. Increase the kale to 2½ cups (packed), omit the basil, and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

Kale Pesto Pasta - pasta tossed with creamy pesto and toasty pine nuts.  A healthy meatless meal!

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