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Lemon Kale Pesto Pasta from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)
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5 from 3 votes

Lemon Kale Pesto Pasta

A delish Lemon Kale Pesto Pasta that's the perfect bridge from winter to spring!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: kale pesto, kale lemon pesto, pesto pasta, kale pesto pasta,
Servings: 6 people
Author: Gaby


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 bunches dinosaur kale, stems and center veins removed and washed and rinsed dry
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, zested and juice (divided)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (optional if you prefer to omit)
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 lb small pasta shells
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese


  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and saute for 15-20 seconds until fragrant. Remove from the heat immediately and add the kale, red pepper flakes and the lemon zest from 1 lemon. Stir to combine. Let the kale wilt and set aside. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the kale mixture to a food processor and add the optional pine nuts and pulse to combine for 45 seconds. Once it's semi-smooth, transfer it back to the skillet and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and reserve
  • Heat the kale mixture over medium heat to warm through. Add the pasta, parmesan, ricotta and a little bit of the reserved pasta water and stir to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add more pasta water to thin it out a bit. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, lemon zest, juice and red pepper flakes.