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
- olive oil
- lemon juice
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
White beans, chicken, shrimp, or even garbanzo beans all work well here.
Sunflower seeds could work well here for a nut-free option.
We’d recommend spinach in place of kale.
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 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)
- 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.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Category: Pasta
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: kale pasta, creamy kale pasta, vegetarian pasta, vegan pasta