Kale Pesto Pasta

kale pesto pasta topped with tomatoes

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Kale pesto pasta recipe — healthy kale combined with cheese, garlic and olive oil for healthy, robust flavor. Skip the parts about cooking the pasta if you want to make our kale pesto for something else!



For the kale pesto

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups kale, rinsed and thick stems removed
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (or a tad more) grated pecorino romano or Parmigiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted (see notes)
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta & topping

  • 12 ozs pasta — we like linguine or ziti with kale pesto
  • chopped fresh tomatoes for topping (optional)


  1. Boil water: Begin boiling some water for pasta before you start making the pesto.
  2. Mince the garlic: Add the garlic to a food processor and mince.
  3. Add the kale to the food process, coarsely chopping to create enough room for the other ingredients.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients —  add olive oil, cheese and pumpkin seeds and puree until it comes to a nice smooth consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes, if using. Purée again to incorporate all the ingredients. Your kale pesto is ready to toss with pasta or any other use you have in mind!
  5. Drain the pasta when it is cooked to your liking. Toss the pasta with enough pesto to coat it.
  6. Plate the pasta, pass extra cheese and pesto at the table.


  • You can use walnuts or pine nuts instead of pumpkin seeds, if you aren’t concerned about making a nut free dish.
  • See how to make kale pesto above for more tips.
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