I’m excited that I’ve been finding more ways to incorporate kale into our diets.  Recently I posted the spicy kale lasagna that we enjoyed to the very last bite.  Here, kale shines mixed with whole grain pasta and a very simple lemon-olive oil dressing.  This simple dish is quick and easy to throw together, and takes no longer to prepare than it takes to cook the pasta.  Jenny was exactly right when she described the sauce as being reminiscent of a Caesar dressing.  The flavors are indeed very similar and the only thing missing is the anchovies.  As a Caesar lover, it’s no surprise I loved this dish.  The original recipe calls for black kale (aka dino or lacinato kale) which is supposed to be more delicate.  Unfortunately the only organic kale at my store was red kale but it seemed to work just fine.  I’ll keep my eye out for the black variety to try in the future.

Lemony Kale Pasta
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For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ tsp. kosher salt, divided
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
5-6 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
¼-½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the pasta:
1 lb. whole grain pasta, such as penne
1 large bunch kale (black/lacinato kale preferred), rinsed and dried, stems removed
Lemon slices, for garnish
Additional Parmesan, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Meanwhile, make the dressing.  Mince the garlic cloves.  Sprinkle the minced garlic with ¼ teaspoon of the kosher salt and smash the garlic into a paste with a fork or the side of a chef’s knife.  Transfer the garlic paste to a small bowl.  Add in the Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, the remaining salt and black pepper.  Whisk together until well combined.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions.  Chop the kale into ½-inch ribbons.  Add the kale to a large bowl and toss with the dressing to coat well.  When the pasta is finished, drain well and let cool a minute or two.  Toss the pasta with the kale and dressing until well coated.  Serve with sliced lemon and additional Parmesan as desired.

Source: Spoon With Me, adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

  • A healthy and deliciousdish! That combo is awesome.



  • I absolutely LOVE kale! It’s so healthy, and I love finding new ways to use it. Great recipe!

  • This is an inspiring dish. One caveat: I can’t stand whole grain pasta. My partner and I find the Barilla Plus pastas are a fine compromise (it’s about 50/50 whole grain versus regular. Nonetheless, I’ll look into adapting your plan to our needs. Thanks.

  • I just wrote a comment but don’t know what happened to it. Aside from preferring Barilla Plus to whole grain pastas, it occurs to me that a number of different greens would work with this; for example, beet greens or chard. It sounds good enough for me to steal your recipe.

  • I’ve never seen kale with pretty purple veins like that. This dish looks so delicious. I love kale! I’ve never had it with pasta, though. I’m sure I’d enjoy it. :)

  • Whole wheat pasta, kale and lemon? right up my alley although I have never thought about mixing kale and pasta together, interesting. I actually have a bag of kale in the fridge that didn’t know what to do with so perhaps I will try this one :-)

  • Such a simple and delicious looking recipe!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Liz N

    We love kale in our household. We’ve discovered how wonderfully delicious kale chips can be! Your kale recipe is something I’d love to try soon.

  • mmmm…i love kale!! this pasta dish looks beautiful!

  • Just found your blog and it’s amazing! Can’t wait to try this dish!!!

  • I am really loving this dish! I love kale and I’am always looking for different ways to eat it.

  • I recently just tried making kale chips within the last week, and I love it. This looks like another great way to use it!

  • This is completely unrelated, but Bobbi shared with us on facebook that baby Caroline is here =) CONGRATS momma!

  • I love kale. I usually cook vegetarian, so this dish sounds perfect. I have mostly used kale for salad, but with the addition pasta it looks like a great main dish!

  • This looks great…I love kale so I will have to give this a try. :)

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve been wilting kale into my pasta sauces for a while now (for the record, kale and cubed eggplant can do a LOT for a basic marinara) and can’t wait to let it be on the main stage in this dish. Looks amazing!

  • I am loving kale lately! Can’t wait to try this dish. Seems like a perfect option for us one night next week.

  • I’m always looking for new ways to use greens, and this looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  • This looks delicious, I love lemon pasta sauces. I make lemon spaghetti recipe, which I add spinach too, but will try it with kale now. Thanks for the suggestion :D

  • Ann

    Many congratulations from Spain on the birth of your gorgeous baby girl, hope you both continue to thrive. Ann

  • I’ve never had kale in pasta before. What a great recipe! Looks delicious and will definitely have to try!

  • Michelle

    hoping to try this tonight … what did andrew think of it? i keep trying to sell my four kids on more greens!

  • Oh this looks delicious! I think I’ll try this with chard soon.

  • Wow, this looks so delicious!

  • allison

    So happy to see you have more healthy recipes!!! Keep ’em coming!

  • Clarissa

    You made me a Kale addict with this recipe. I LOVED it. I can it without the pasta to make it extra healthy!

  • Lydia B

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I might throw in some toasted pine nuts next time.

  • This is such a beautiful and amazing recipe that I wanted to share it on my blog! Congratulations and happy cooking!
    xxoo Tasha -The Clean Eating Mama

  • Anne

    This was SO fantastic! I made it for dinner last night and will definitely be making it again. I added some toasted pine nuts, but it would also be great with some chicken. I would also make it as a side dish for a pot luck – light and healthy.

  • Laura

    My husband made this for dinner tonight at my prompting, and it’s amazing! Neither of us are huge fans of kale, but we loved it in this. The dressing is a perfect complement to the earthy combination of kale and whole wheat pasta. Plus, it really does taste like Caesar dressing!

  • lemon, kale, pasta – what could be better? oh, cheeeese!

  • This is delicious! I am trying out kale these days and loved this recipe. The lemon and red pepper flakes really made it pop. Thanks!

  • Cher

    Fabulous recipe. I added some lemon zest for some extra flavor.

  • Eileen

    I made this tonight and we loved it. Thank you for such a tasty, easy recipe.

  • Just made this for dinner. Really liked it! Sad to admit it was my first time using kale (lacinato)at home — very un-intimidating to rinse, dry and chop. A nice, light meal with real flavor. I think next time I make it I might lightly saute the kale before tossing it with the dressing as an experiment.

  • Lauren Ochoa

    I made this for dinner tonight as ordered except i dropped the kale in the pasta water for the last 5 minutes that it cooked, rather than tossing it in the dressing raw. I had to restraint myself from having a third serving it was so good. Pasta, greens, lemon juice…is there anything NOT to love about this meal?

  • alexsmookler

    I am so excited to find this recipe! I was searching everywhere for a recipe to use up the kale (cavolo nero as it is called here in Italy) in my fridge and I didn’t find anything interesting. Then I came here looking for your vodka tomato sauce and stumbled across this recipe. And the best part is I have all the ingredients in my kitchen so now I don’t even have to go to the store! Thanks a ton!

  • Cbodnar

    My friend has a great kale soup recipe..I was hesitant at first..but kale is the best kept secret..

  • This looks awesome! I like how you mentioned on Facebook that spinach can be substituted. Thanks for another great recipe!

  • Mimipoupart

    Oh my God! what a combo. I love KAle & lemon. thank you Annie for putting this one together. Looking forward to cook this one for my little gang!

  • Rose

    This was amazing!! My new favorite way to eat kale!

  • Elvira

    This is delicious! We just had it for dinner!

  • Made it for dinner. Ah-Mazing!!!!

  • Made it for dinner! LOVED it.

  • Greer

    Just found your website, and had this dish tonight. It was great! Thank you for a tasty, healthy recipe.

  • Rahaf

    Kale is such an important addition to a healthy lifestyle and This was yummy! I didn’t have wheat pasta on hand unfortunately but I know it would be more flavorful if I had some. Instead, I used plain white pasta. I also lowered the amount of lemon. I decided to add some form of meat to serve as a main dish and all I had was turkey breast on hand but it came out very well! Thanks so much :)