Whip up a batch of this kale pesto pasta for an easy, delicious, and filling weeknight meal. This dish comes together in under 30 minutes, and will satisfy everyone.

Kale Pesto Pasta | Daisybeet, MS, RD

Everyone needs a good pesto recipe in their back pocket. It’s an easy sauce to make, and can really elevate all sorts of meals. I would eat pesto on just about anything – sandwiches, potatoes, eggs, and especially PASTA.

Pesto pasta is one of those meals that proves simple is best. Made with just a handful of high quality ingredients, it is an extremely delicious and satisfying meal. This kale pesto pasta is just a minor twist on a classic pesto recipe, bringing a little different flavor and even more vibrant green color to the dish.

Love green pasta sauces? Try my quick & healthy green sauce for pasta that uses an entire bag of spinach!

Kale Pesto Pasta | Daisybeet, MS, RD

Ingredients in kale pesto pasta

Everything you need to make this recipe is listed below:

  • ZENB Penne Pasta is the star of this recipe with great flavor and al dente texture but packed with plant-powered protein. 
  • Kale is another hero ingredient. I used curly kale, but you can also use lacinato kale, or even baby kale.
  • Basil adds classic pesto flavor to this dish.
  • Pine nuts add texture and nutty flavor to pesto.
  • Parmesan cheese: I recommend buying a block and grating it yourself instead of pre-grated parmesan cheese.
  • Lemon juice adds just a hint of acidity and freshness to pesto.
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pasta

For this recipe, I used ZENB Penne Pasta made from 100% yellow peas. I truly love using this pasta as a healthy alternative to traditional pasta in all my favorite pasta dishes.

ZENB Pasta tastes like traditional wheat pasta, but is high in fiber and a good source of plant-based protein. One 3 oz serving of ZENB Pasta provides 11 grams of fiber and 17 grams of protein! ZENB Pasta is also gluten free and vegan, making is suitable for those with dietary restrictions.

Kale Pesto Pasta | Daisybeet, MS, RD

How to make kale pesto pasta

  1. This recipe is so easy to make! It will take you less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
  2. First, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add your pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  3. While the pasta cooks, make your kale pesto. Add kale, basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to a food processor. Blend until everything is chopped up into tiny chunks.
  4. Add the olive oil to the food processor and pulse a few times to combine. You want your pesto to have some texture, so make sure not to blend it up completely.
  5. Drain your pasta and add it to a mixing bowl along with the kale pesto. Stir everything up to toss all the noodles in the sauce. Enjoy!
Kale Pesto Pasta | Daisybeet, MS, RD

Kale nutritional benefits

Kale packs a big nutritional punch, and adds many nutrients to a classic pesto recipe. It’s a member of the brassica family, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, and cauliflower.

A one cup serving of kale provides:

  • Over 100 percent of your daily needs for Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K
  • Plenty of minerals, including manganese, potassium, copper, and calcium
  • 2 grams (8 percent of your daily needs) of dietary fiber
  • 3 grams of protein
Kale Pesto Pasta | Daisybeet, MS, RD

Tips for making this recipe perfectly

Use high quality ingredients in your pesto. Since pesto is such a simple recipe, the quality of ingredients is important. I recommend using high quality parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and the freshest kale and basil you can find.

Buy a hunk of parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. Pre-grated cheeses often have a preservative coating, like potato starch, on them to keep the pieces from sticking together. Your parmesan cheese will taste fresher and blend up more smoothly if you grate it yourself.

Don’t rinse the pasta in cold water when draining. When pasta cooks, it releases starches into the water, which ultimately form a coating on the noodles once drained. This starchy coating is crucial for helping the kale pesto cling to the noodles, so don’t rinse your pasta!

More pesto recipes to try

Let me know if you love this recipe by leaving a comment or rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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bowl of kale pesto pasta with ingredients surrounding it, on a white marble background

Kale Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Alex
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: serves 3-4 1x
  • Category: main dish


Whip up a batch of this kale pesto pasta for an easy, delicious, and filling weeknight meal. This dish comes together in under 30 minutes, and will satisfy everyone.


  • 1 box ZENB Penne Pasta
  • 1 packed cup kale
  • 1 packed cup basil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook ZENB Pasta according to package instructions.
  2. While the pasta cooks, prepare the pesto. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT olive oil to a food processor.
  3. Blend for 20-30 seconds until ingredients are well combined and chopped into very small pieces.
  4. Add the olive oil to the food processor, then pulse a few times to combine it with everything else. Be careful not to blend too much, because you want the pesto to retain some texture.
  5. Strain your pasta. Add it to a mixing bowl along with the pesto.
  6. Mix the pasta well so all the noodles are coated in pesto. Serve right away.


Pesto pasta tastes good hot or cold! This recipe keeps well in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Keywords: kale pesto pasta, gluten free

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Kale Pesto Pasta | Daisybeet, MS, RD

Thank you ZENB for sponsoring this blog post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.