Kale Pesto Pasta

When it’s finally spring, we can’t help but look for ways to get a little more green into our lives. It’s time to leave hearty winter foods behind and satisfy the craving for indulgently herbaceous fare. While you probably already have a go-to basil pesto recipe, this kale-centric version may soon become your new favorite. With a brighter green look than the all-basil kind, this light-and-bright dish is the perfect way to welcome in spring. Even better, making this pesto allows you to pack a bunch of healthy greens into one simple meal, so it may be a recipe you return to anytime you want a simple veggie boost.

While we’ve called for whole wheat pasta here, feel free to toss the pesto with orzo, couscous, or even homemade gnocchi. Do a run-through of the fridge as the pasta water is boiling and add in any bits of leftovers that strike your fancy — anything from roasted veggies to sliced rotisserie chicken are sure to be elevated by all that bright green goodness.

Our tip: Make a double batch of the pesto and use this versatile sauce as a topping for scrambled eggs, a stir-in for store-bought hummus, or mixed with mayonnaise for a fresh-tasting sandwich spread.

Servings: 4


Kosher salt, to taste

1 large bunch Tuscan (Lacinato) kale, ribs and stems removed

12 oz whole wheat spaghetti

⅓ cup raw pistachios, shelled

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium garlic cloves, rough-chopped

1 Tbsp lemon juice

½ cup Gelson’s organic fresh basil leaves

1 oz Parmesan cheese, shaved, plus more for serving

⅓ cup water, plus more as needed

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, generously season with salt, and cook the kale leaves until bright green and wilted, about 30 seconds. Using tongs, transfer the kale to a rimmed baking sheet. Let the kale cool slightly and wring out the excess water with your hands. Meanwhile, keep the water boiling.

  2. Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook according to the package instructions, stirring occasionally, until al dente.

  3. In a food processor, purée the pistachios, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil, kale, Parmesan, and 1 tablespoon of water at a time, as needed, until smooth.

  4. Strain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

  5. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the pesto, butter, and ⅓ cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Toss, adding more pasta cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, until the sauce coats the pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  6. Divide the pasta among four bowls. Top with Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from: Bon Appétit

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