Bucatini with Kale Pesto


This time of year, whenever I write “green veg” on the grocery list for a trip my husband takes, he inevitably comes back with kale.  He really loves it, and it’s one of the few green vegetables in season at the moment.  I like it, too, but there are only so many different ways I can sauté it and braise it before I’m over it.

Last week, I had a huge bunch of kale staring me in the face again, and no real dinner plans.  That’s when I decided to make a kale pesto so that I could use it in a new way (new to me, that is) and the bonus, of course, was that I got to eat pasta for dinner. 🙂

This made a LOT of pesto, so I was able to freeze quite a bit for a some quick dinners down the road.  The pesto was delicious and a nice change of pace from the standard basil version.  It had a heartier flavor, and some bitterness to it (though boiling the kale will get rid of much of the bitterness, and the lemon juice brightens it up).  I decided to go with walnuts rather than pine nuts, which were a great complement to the kale.  I topped the pasta with some chicken I quickly cooked in a skillet, to add a little more protein to the dish.

Kale Pesto

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Enough for about 1 lb. of pasta

1 large bunch kale, coarsely chopped and thick stems removed
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese
juice of 1 lemon
zest of half a lemon
good quality extra virgin olive oil


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the kale.  Cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until tender and most of the bitterness has been removed.  Drain.

Place the garlic and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until combined.   Add the kale and process until well combined.  Add the cheese , lemon juice, and zest, and pulse just a few times to incorporate.   Drizzle olive oil through the feed tube, continuing to process, until your desired consistency (I’ve always been a fan of a thicker/less oily pesto myself).  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Combine the pesto with hot cooked pasta, drizzling in a little extra oil if desired.

Bucatini with Kale Pesto

9 thoughts on “Bucatini with Kale Pesto

  1. Sounds delicious! I am glad I am not the only one making “weird” pestos. On Tuesday I bought some bootroots from the market place. The leaves were then made into a delicious pesto. I am not sure when I will find time to post this recipe.

  2. My father adores kale, which is odd because he usually avoids leafy greens like they’re contaminated with the plague or something. He would definitely enjoy this though (and so would I!)

  3. Wow! This looks so good (and healthy!) This has been added to my ‘starred recipes’ on google reader! Thanks for another great recipe!

  4. This dish so appeals to me since I love pasta and vegetables. I’ve put kale into the mix before but not as pesto. Why not? Looks delicious.

    Happy holidays and all the best to you and your family in the new year.

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