Kale Pesto Sauce Pasta Recipe

Welcome to your new favorite way to eat your greens- kale pesto pasta.

Kale pesto

Our kale pesto recipe is perfect for making the sauce in this dish. Unlike a traditional pesto, ours uses a generous amount of blanched kale. Blanching the kale is a crucial step. It softens the kale making it easier to blend, it makes the green color extra bright, and eliminates some of the kale’s natural bitterness.

To make this pesto you essentially blend together blanched kale leaves, lemon, garlic, parmesan, walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. If your blender isn’t the best, use a little more olive oil or a little salty pasta water to help it smooth out.

If you would like to make this a vegan kale pesto recipe, simply use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan.


How to make kale pasta sauce

Kale Pesto Recipe
Kale Pesto Recipe

The key to making this kale pasta sauce is the murky, starchy pasta water leftover after you boil the pasta. Don’t pour that liquid down the drain! The pasta water is liquid gold and it transforms the kale pesto into a silky, saucy pasta.

To achieve a well-seasoned pasta and salty, starchy pasta water, you have to heavily salt your water. We’re talking salty like the ocean. Seasoning food properly is something that turns good food into great food, and pasta is no exception.

For every 4 quarts of pasta water, add 2 TB of Diamond Crystal Kosher or 4 tsp. Morton’s Kosher.

After you have cooked your pasta to a nice al dente, scoop out a cup of the pasta water. Once the pasta is drained, dump it back into the pot with a little bit of butter. Start stirring, add the pesto, slowly pour in pasta water as needed, and the sauce begins to emulsify. Another great vegan pasta recipe is this pasta pomodoro.

It’s during this moment of pasta science when the pasta water absorbs all the amazing flavors and it becomes a savory luscious kale pesto pasta sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I adjust the consistency of kale pesto sauce for pasta to achieve my preferred thickness or creaminess?

You can adjust the consistency of kale pesto sauce by adding more olive oil or pasta cooking water to thin it out, or by incorporating additional nuts or cheese to thicken it as desired.

Are there specific pasta shapes or types that work best with kale pesto sauce, and what considerations should be taken into account when pairing them?

Pasta shapes with ridges or nooks, such as fusilli or penne, work well with kale pesto sauce as they help hold the sauce. Consider the texture and thickness of the pasta to ensure it complements the consistency of the sauce.

Can kale pesto sauce be made in larger batches and stored for future use, and what is the recommended method for preserving its freshness and flavor?

Yes, kale pesto sauce can be made in larger batches and stored. Transfer it to an airtight container and cover the surface with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent oxidation. Store it in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it in ice cube trays for longer-term storage. Thaw frozen pesto in the refrigerator overnight before use.

kale pesto pasta

Kale Pesto Pasta

Author: Maddy & JD – Them Bites
Vibrant and bright kale pesto combines with the liquid gold that is pasta water to make a creamy, beautiful vegetarian pasta dish.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 people
Calories 425 kcal


  • 1 Cheese grater
  • 1 Large Pot


  • 1 Kale pesto
  • ½ lb spaghetti
  • 1 tb butter
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • kosher salt and pepper

Recipe Instructions

  • Place a large pot of generously salted water over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until al dente according to package instructions.
  • Ladle out a cup of the hot pasta water and set aside. Then drain the pasta and return it to a dry pot with 1 tb of butter.
  • Add the kale pesto, a splash of the pasta water, and the grated parmesan cheese. Toss until all the pasta is coated, adding more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce and make it creamy. Serve immediately.


This Air Fryer Pork Loin recipe would pair very well with this!


Calories: 425kcalCarbohydrates: 85gProtein: 15gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 15mgPotassium: 263mgFiber: 4gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 12IUCalcium: 32mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Kale and basil pesto, Kale pasta sauce, Kale Pesto, Kale pesto pasta, Kale Pesto Recipe, Kale sauce pasta
Tried this recipe?Mention @thembitesrecipes or tag #thembites

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