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Spaghetti with walnut kale pesto in a skillet.

Kale Walnut Pesto with Spaghetti

Kale and Walnut Pesto with Spaghetti is a healthy and flavourful pasta dish. It's quick and easy to put together and simply perfect for any day of the week.
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Kale Walnut Pesto with Spaghetti
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 699kcal
Author Marisa


  • 2 cups kale (roughly chopped) rinsed, dried and firmly packed
  • 1 cup Italian parsley (roughly chopped) Rinsed, dried and firmly packed
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup walnuts lightly toasted
  • lemon zest from one medium sized lemon
  • lemon juice from one medium sized lemon
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese freshly grated
  • red chili pepper flakes 2 generous pinches
  • salt and pepper to your taste
  • 450 grams spaghetti
  • 1 cup freshly toasted bread crumbs optional (see notes below)


Kale Walnut Pesto

  • Fill a large sauce pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, start making the kale pesto.
  • Place the kale, parsley, garlic, walnuts, both the zest and juice of a lemon and the olive oil in a large food processor.
  • Pulse until smooth.
  • Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and stir in the cheese, chili flakes and salt & pepper to your taste.
  • Set the pesto aside while you cook the pasta.


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Once the water boils, salt the water and cook the spaghetti according to package instructions.
  • When the pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water then drain the spaghetti.
  • Return the pasta to the sauce pot and toss with approximately 1/2 cup of pesto and the reserved pasta water.
  • Taste the pasta and add additional pesto if needed or simply to your liking.
  • Plate and serve with a dab of pesto, some extra cheese, a sprinkle of chilli pepper and toasted breadcrumbs if using.
  • You can store any remaining pesto for up to a week in the fridge.
  • Or freeze up to 1 month.


Toasted Breadcrumbs:
Use your favourite bread, crust removed and chopped into small pieces (approximately 1 cup).
Heat a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the breadcrumbs.
Toast the crumbs while tossing frequently for about 5 minutes or until the crumbs turn golden brown.


Calories: 699kcal | Carbohydrates: 87g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 3727IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 182mg | Iron: 4mg