Creamy Kale Pasta

30 reviews / 5 average

This recipe is part of our Plant-Powered January series! Find out more about how to join in on the fun, or click here to sign up directly for our email list to receive weekly meal plans, grocery lists, and other resources.


Let me paint a picture for you: chewy bowtie pasta, coated in a light, salty, barely-creamy sauce, flecked with red pepper flakes and little bits of tender sautéed garlic kale. Oooo-eee! This kale pasta is yummy.

The general mood of this meal is just beautiful and simple, which is… kind of how I’m doing life lately. Taking things back to the basics, not overcomplicating, working in lots of lovely and wholesome ingredients (kale, we see you), going big on flavor and texture without long ingredient lists or hours of work.

Let’s talk about the creamy-but-just-barely-there sauce that pulls this whole thing into a bowl of comfort food. It’s a food processor sauce (of course it is, this is how I operate) made of:

  • pine nuts
  • capers or olives
  • herbs
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper

The pine nuts make it a little creamy, so it’s like a less-herby pesto that has the perfect amount of sticky cling to hold the pasta and kale together.

Ingredients for Creamy Kale Pasta in bowls.

Speaking of kale, we are absolutely not skimping on flavor with this. These little shreds of kale get sautéed with garlic and butter, and wowee. Simple magic.

Toss that with your sauce and your pasta and then ask yourself, really, why would you eat kale any other way?

Close-up of Creamy Kale Pasta noodles.

You can add shrimp or chicken to this creamy hot pot of pasta, but this month we’re taking a hot second to build on our love for vegetables and plant-based proteins, so I would also recommend chickpeas or white beans or tofu, if that’s in your wheelhouse.

Plant-based or not, you have options, but pinky swear you actually don’t need to add anything. My whole family, toddler included, loved this just as it is!

Kale, you star, you! ♡

P.S. If you’re hungry for more veggies (we fully support) you’ll want to also add these recipes to your veggie rotation.

Watch How To Make This Recipe:

Common Questions About Creamy Kale Pasta

What can I add in for more protein?

White beans, chicken, shrimp, or even garbanzo beans all work well here.

What can I substitute for pine nuts?

Sunflower seeds could work well here for a nut-free option.

Is there a good substitute for the kale in this recipe?

We’d recommend spinach in place of kale.

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Creamy Kale Pasta


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 34 1x

Description

This Creamy Kale Pasta is fresh, easy, and DELICIOUS. Chewy bowtie pasta, coated in a light, salty, barely-creamy sauce, flecked with red pepper flakes and little bits of tender sautéed garlic kale.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup packed parsley
  • 1/4 cup packed basil
  • 2 tablespoons capers or pitted olives
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Pasta:

  • 8 ounces farfalle
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 stalks kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup white wine, reserved cooking water, broth, or any combination 
  • lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan to finish (omit Parmesan if vegan)

Instructions

  1. Make the sauce: Pulse all sauce ingredients together until mostly smooth. (The sauce will be very salty. That’s okay, it’ll tone down once it mixes with everything.)
  2. Prep the pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Cook down the kale: While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic; sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the kale; sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the wine, water, or broth; let it sizzle out for a minute.
  4. Finish: Add drained, cooked pasta and sauce. Toss to combine. Season to taste with Parmesan, lemon, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Fast, easy, yum.

Equipment

  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: kale pasta, creamy kale pasta, vegetarian pasta, vegan pasta

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Recipe rating

79 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Astrid

    Legit accidentally bough too much kale last week and have been desperate to use it up…then this happened. It’s a sign.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Marbe Agee

    Made last night for dinner. Loved it. I ended up short on white wine so added half the volume of pasta water instead of broth. Turned out so delicious as it thickened the sauce in the best way and kept it vegetarian. So good Lindsay & crew. I am enjoying the plant based recipes!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    ibby

    This is very tasty and was a hit with the household! I substituted sunflower seeds for the pine nuts and it came out great.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Ruth

      Thanks for this! We have a nut allergy in our house, so good to know it comes out okay with sunflower seeds. I may use pepitas depending on what I have in the pantry…

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      DNN

      Hey Nicole,

      Just took a quick look at your food blog. Congratulations on making food blogging your side hustle career as a digital nomad. Keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emily

    I made this today for lunch and it was absolutely delicious. I definitely recommend adding the

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Emily

    I made this for lunch today and it was absolutely delicious. I definitely recommend adding the red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.






  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Julie

    Made this tonight-OMG so good and easy to make. The flavors are wonderful. I didn’t have white wine, and didn’t want to buy any, so I used pasta water. I also used orecchiette pasta cause I already had some on hand. Perfect easy recipe!






  7. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Barb

    This was GREAT! I subbed walnuts for pine nuts. I used dried herbs. Easy for a lazy person like me to throw together!






  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Rhonda

    Made this tonight, oh wow, was it ever delicious! Started your Plant Power January and I”m loving the recipes. Thank you!






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Rhonda! Thanks for joining us for Plant Powered January!

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    David Douglas

    I really, really appreciate you offering alternatives in your recipes. Too many recipes are ridged, but with yours I feel comfortable with experimenting and thus I feel some sort of ownership of, “I made this”. I’ll try this recipe now but with spinach. Ta.






  10. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Norma

    Hi. You do not mention red pepper flakes in your list of ingredients, nor the amount to use.

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Dale

    I imagine I could use spinach instead of Kale…..realizing it would be less dense. Can’t wait to try the recipe.

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jessica W

    I made this tonight with spinach instead of kale, and it came out wonderful! The sauce was a little lemony, but I’ll just add a little less next time. Can’t wait to eat my leftovers tomorrow!!

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Allison Sundquist

    Made this tonight – so easy and delicious! Love the heat from the pepper flakes with the fresh lemon and herb sauce. We do meatless Mondays and this will definitely be going in the rotation! Thanks for posting!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Morgan

    Made this tonight and it was a hit!! Will be adding to our rotation. Thanks for the recipe!






  15. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kristine

    OMG!! This is so yummy!!I just made this for lunch and wasn’t sure it would be a big hit but my husband and I both loved it! It was so good with just some Parmesan and red pepper flakes to top it off. It would be good with shrimp, too. Thanks for another easy, tasty recipe!






  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kelly

    Love this! I couldn’t find basil in the store so I used cilantro instead. I also used walnuts instead of pinenuts and it was all so delicious. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!






  17. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Marisa

    Made it last night. A hit with the entire family! We topped it with red pepper flakes and parmesan and it was perfect!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Claudia

    This is a delicious recipe! I am following and enjoying the recipes for vegetarian January and love the format with shopping list, photos and recipe presentation. The one thing I wish was included was basic nutritional info. I have to come back to the website to obtain it.






    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Krista @ Pinch of Yum

      So happy you enjoyed the recipe! And we appreciate the feedback, Claudia!

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Maryanne

    Omg! So easy and delish. Being a garlic loving family I added one clove to the sauce and another to the kale. One more change was that I added mushrooms which gave it a meaty consistency. Love this!

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Magen

    My 22-mo picky eater ate not only the pasta but ALSO THE KALE and said “yum” several times. I can’t emphasize enough what a big deal this was. This is officially going into our dinner rotation <3






  21. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Em

    This was tasty! I love your recipes, however, y’all use too much salt. We doubled the recipe but with Only 2 Tbs capers and only 1tsp salt—with the added parm at the end it was the right amount salty! It would have been overboard with the listed servings. I’d love to see y’all focus on a low sodium month like you do a sugar free.