If you need a quick and easy pasta sauce that feels a little virtuous, then look no further. Kale Pasta Sauce is smooth and savoury, with a hint of fresh lemon and garlic plus a peppery bite. Ready in 15 minutes, this is your new go-to dinner.
The festive season has come and gone and now we are stuck in the dreich and dreary post-New Year winter months. It’s a time which feels made for comfort food, but also a time for good intentions, resets, healthy eating. That’s where kale pasta sauce comes in. It is full of green goodness – basically, it is blended kale with a bit of parmesan and garlic mixed in. Tossed with warm pasta, it feels luxurious and decadent – smooth, creamy and full of flavour, but still virtuous. Green and full of goodness thanks to the kale.
Creamy Kale Pasta Sauce
This creamy kale sauce is made from just a few simple ingredients:
- Olive Oil
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
The kale is simply blanched for a few minutes in boiling water with some whole garlic cloves. Then blended with a little olive oil and parmesan until it forms a deliciously smooth sauce, perfect for pasta. A touch of lemon and a dash of salt and pepper are all the seasoning necessary for this creamy green pasta sauce.
The beauty of this kale sauce is in its simplicity. There are only a few ingredients, so I always suggest using the best available. Fresh kale, garlic and lemon juice with the best quality oil and cheese you can reasonably afford.
You can use any type of kale for this sauce – I typically use curly kale as it is most easily available, but Cavolo Nero also works a treat.
You can add in some additional greens like spinach or rocket/arugula, those these will need less blanching time. And broccoli rabe or spring greens can also be used in place of the kale, depending on the season.
Fresh herbs are also a good addition – parsley, basil or mint, finely chopped as a garnish can add a seasonal freshness.
As for pasta, I like a ridged tubular shape like rigatoni or shorter Mezzi Rigatoni like I have used in the recipe pictures. But you can use whatever pasta shape you like best.
How to Serve Kale Pasta
Most often, I like this kale pasta as per the recipe – topped with a generous scattering of grated, salty cheese like parmesan or pecorino and some toasted chopped almonds for a nice bite. Walnuts or pine nuts are also nice kale pasta toppings.
If you want to add some protein, then some shredded cooked chicken or flakes of cooked salmon are an easy addition to toss in.
For a decadent dish, skip the extra grated cheese on top and instead add a creamy pillow of burrata.
Kale Sauce for pasta is best eaten freshly prepared, but leftovers will store in the fridge for up to 2 days. Simply stir in to warm pasta over a low heat. You can also use leftover kale sauce drizzled over vegetables or as a dip mixed with some thick yoghurt or cream cheese.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! Please leave a comment or tag me on Instagram @carrieskitchen_ if you make it!
More 15 Minute Pasta Recipes:
- Spicy Carbonara Noodles
- Spinach Pesto Pasta
- Pasta Primavera with Peas and Asparagus
- 15 Minute Bacon and Pea Pasta
Kale Pasta Sauce
- 200 grams pasta
- 200 grams kale tough stalks removed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese (30g) plus extra to serve
- ¼ cup chopped almonds optional, to serve
- salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice about ½ a lemon
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the kale and garlic. Blanche for 4-5 minutes until tender.
- Remove the kale and garlic using tongs (don't worry about the excess water) and transfer to a food processor or suitable cup for a stick blender.
- Add the pasta to the pot and cook until al-dente according to package instructions. Reserve a cup of cooking water before draining. (You can use a fresh pot of salted boiling water if you prefer.)
- Add the olive oil and parmesan to the kale with a generous crack of black pepper, then blend until smooth – this should take a minute or two. You may wish to add another tablespoon or two of pasta cooking water until you get a silky smooth sauce. Stir in lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once drained, return the pasta to the warm pan and stir in the sauce. Stir well over a low heat for 1-2 minutes – the sauce should cling nicely to the pasta. You can add more pasta water as desired until the sauce reaches perfect consistency.
- Garnish with chopped almonds and extra grated cheese to serve.