Pasta tossed in a creamy lemon butter sauce with tender kale and crunchy walnuts. This quick and tasty pasta is a staple in my kitchen.
Lemon and Kale Pasta is one of those dishes I throw together after a long day when I need something quick but satisfying. The kale goes so well with the creamy yet tangy lemon sauce, and the walnuts add such a satisfying crunch. I love this lemon pasta with the decadent cream sauce but it is also just as good without cream – like a riff on Pasta au Limone.
Like my Garlic Mushroom Pasta and Bacon and Pea Pasta, this is one of my staple quick dinner recipes. I pretty much always have the ingredients to hand and it is quick to prepare, as well as easy to customise.
Cavolo Nero Pasta
I prefer Cavolo Nero or Black Kale over the curly variety, but both will work in this recipe. If you are not a kale fan you can swap it for another leafy green like savoy cabbage or spinach. If you are using spinach add it straight to the sauce rather than cooking with the pasta.
To prepare the kale for this lemon pasta, simply remove the leaves from the woody stalks. Roughly chop or tear the leaves into bite sized pieces and wash thoroughly under cold running water.
Serving Suggestions and Variations
I usually eat my lemon and kale pasta on its own (it is best served with an ice cold glass of dry white wine) but it also goes well with a simple green salad.
Garlic bread is an excellent accompaniment, especially if you want to make your portions go a bit further.
If you want to add some protein, some sliced grilled chicken works a treat. Grilled scallops, prawns or flaked salmon are also a delicious addition.
I love switching up this pasta recipe by using tenderstem broccoli or asparagus instead of kale. A handful of frozen peas is also my go-to swap in a pinch.
Chilli Flakes or Red Pepper Flakes make a great additional pasta topping.
To make this dish vegan, replace the butter with olive oil and use a plant-based cream and cheese.
Make this pasta without cream by simply leaving it out. Use a little extra pasta cooking water when tossing all the ingredients together. You can also substitute some vegetable or chicken broth.
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 Quick and Tasty Pasta Recipes:
Creamy Lemon Kale Pasta with Walnuts
- Pasta Pot
- Colander or Pasta Strainer
- Chopping Board
- Sharp Knife
- small saucepan
- 150 grams pasta 5.3 oz
- 100 grams Cavolo Nero or curly kale
- 1 lemon juiced
- 2 cloves garlic diced
- ¼ cup double or heavy cream 60ml
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts 60 grams
- ¼ cup grated parmesan 25 grams
- pinch salt
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta to al dente according to packet instructions. Reserve a few tablespoons of cooking water when draining.
- Pull the kale leaves from the stems and roughly tear or chop into bite sized pieces. Wash thoroughly.
- Heat a pan over medium heat and add the walnuts. Lightly toast for 2-3 minutes then remove and set aside.
- In the same warm pan you used for the walnuts, melt the butter then add the garlic with a pinch of salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the cream and allow to simmer and bubble for 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the kale lemon juice and sauté gently for another 2-3 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Add the pasta and grated parmesan to the pan with the lemon butter kale and a tablespoon of pasta water. Stir well to combine and add more water if needed to ensure the pasta is coated in a glossy lemon cream.
- Sprinkle with walnuts and optional extra grated parmesan to serve (chilli flakes are also a great addition.)
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