This vegetarian pasta recipe features a deliciously creamy lemon garlic sauce and nutrient-dense kale! Made on the stovetop in about 20 minutes, this creamy kale pasta is a comforting and cozy weeknight meal. Use your favorite long, wide noodle like fettuccine for this recipe.
Creamy lemon garlic pasta sauce
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme
- 4 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 lb fettuccine or other long noodle
- 6 packed cups of curly kale
- Bring 4 quarts of water salted with a spoonful of Kosher salt to a boil in a stock pot. When water is boiling, cook pasta according to package instructions.
- In another pot or saute pan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the flour and spices to the butter. Cook for 60-90 seconds stirring frequently to create a roux. *detailed instructions in notes.
- To the roux, slowly begin whisking in the whole milk, a little bit at a time.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes for the sauce to thicken, continuing to stir regularly.
- Once thickened, stir in the parmesan cheese, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
- When pasta has 1 minute left of cook time, add the kale directly to the pasta. Give it a gentle stir to mix it in.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. Stir it into the sauce to loosen it up a bit.
- Drain the pasta and the kale.
- Add the cooked pasta and kale directly to the pot with the sauce.
- Stir everything up well so all the noodles are coated in the sauce.
- Serve in bowls with freshly cracked black pepper and shredded parmesan cheese.
How to make a roux
A roux is a mixture of equal parts fat and flour and is used to thicken sauces. For this recipe, you’ll need to make a light roux so the sauce gets thick and creamy, and silky smooth. Here’s how to make a roux:
- Melt butter over medium heat in a saute pan or pot. For this sauce, you will also add minced garlic and fresh time. Cook for 30 seconds.
- Add an equal amount of all purpose flour. For this sauce, you will also add paprika and cayenne pepper.
- Cook for 60-90 seconds, stirring constantly. Normally, the roux would be white or very light in color, slightly puffed, and somewhat pasty. Since we add spices in this recipe, the roux will be a reddish orange color.
Storing and reheating creamy kale pasta
If you have leftovers, you can store this pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1 minute, or until the pasta is warmed through.
Keywords: creamy kale pasta, kale pasta recipes, vegetarian pasta recipes, healthy pasta recipes