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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:
capers or olives
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.
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?
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?
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.
For the Sauce:
1/4 cuppine nuts
1/4 cuppacked parsley
1/4 cuppacked basil
2 tablespoonscapers or pitted olives
1/2 teaspoonblack pepper
juice and zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoonsolive oil
For the Pasta:
2 tablespoonsbutter or vegan butter
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 stalks kale, stems removed, leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cupwhite wine, reserved cooking water, broth, or any combination
lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan to finish (omit Parmesan if vegan)
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.)
Prep the pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
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.
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.