I’m clearly late in getting on the kale train. There was that Pomegranate, Israeli Couscous, Carrot and Kale Salad a few years back and there was a nod to kale in the Winter Vegetable Grain Bowls last year but, overall, there has been a clear lack of kale recipes on the site. I blame the husband and kids.
As much as I like a good kale salad, the remaining family members have very strong feelings against kale (and most brassica vegetables, actually). I figured the only way I was getting more kale in my life was to sneak it into their favorite foods. Thus this recipe for kale pesto pasta with roasted tomatoes.
I have found that if you chop kale into tiny bits and surround it with cheese and pasta, no one will know it’s there
How to make kale pesto
Making homemade pesto is really very easy with the help of a food processor. Although the authentic traditional method calls for using a mortar and pestle to pound the basil, cheese, and pine nuts together, I know of no one who actually does this while trying to get dinner on the table in the middle of the week. Or ever really.
To make kale pesto, you substitute the basil with some kale and whirl all the ingredients together in a food processor. You can use whichever variety of kale you prefer – curly kale, lacinato kale – it’s all good.
Because I’m sneaking the kale into the pesto, I do keep some of the basil so the kale flavor isn’t too strong. Feel free to go 100% on the kale if you like.
Can I use store bought pesto?
Absolutely! I have often used store bought pesto in this recipe whether it was leftover from another recipe or it was one of those weeks where pulling out the food processor was too much. You will need about 1 1/2 cups of pesto for 16 ounces of pasta.
Kale pesto or pesto made with other greens is more readily available at most grocery store these days. I usually find it near the refrigerated pastas. Of course, traditional basil pesto will work just fine too.
What to serve with Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes
Kale pesto pasta is really a meal by itself. However, my family loves it with a side of Italian style chicken sausage.
This is why I need more kale in my life.
For the kale pesto
- 4 cups packed torn kale leaves, stems removed
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 16 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 16 ounces penne pasta
- 2 balls fresh burrata cheese, at room temperature
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
- Freshly chopped basil leaves, for serving
For the kale pesto
- Put the kale, basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and pulse to a fairly smooth paste, scraping down the sides as necessary. Season to taste with salt. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet or in a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the tomatoes in a single layer. Drizzle evenly with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil and seasonings until evenly coated.
- Roast the tomatoes until they start to burst and are browned, 10-15 minutes. Set aside.
- While the tomatoes are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente.
- Drain the pasta (but do not rinse). Immediately return the pasta to the empty cooking pot. Stir the kale pesto into the hot pasta until evenly coated. Add the roasted tomatoes including any oil and juices from the roasting pan. Stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Divide the pasta among plates. Top each serving with some burrata, chopped basil and Parmesan cheese to taste.
Keywords: roasted tomatoes, how to roast tomatoes in the oven, how to make kale pesto