Kale Pesto Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Kale Pesto Pasta recipe

Creamy, rich kale pesto pasta perfection gets a pop of flavor from fresh cherry tomatoes. This easy recipe is sure to become a regular, ideal for a quick weeknight dinner — it only takes about 20 minutes to prepare. For a splurge, use walnuts instead of sunflower seeds. Recipe from Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Vegan Cooking by Katie Koteen & Kate Kosbee, Page Street Publishing Co. © 2017, reprinted by permission. Photos at top and bottom by Allie Lehman.

Serves: 4 to 6 • 20 minutes to prepare

  • 1/2 bunch kale, any variety, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup shelled salted sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the kale and let it boil for just a minute or two. Use a slotted spoon to remove the kale from the water and place it in a colander to drain.

Bring the water back up to a boil and add the pasta. Cook until al dente or according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return pasta to the pot.

Curly kale in colander

Add the kale, basil, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon and nutritional yeast to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, drizzling in the olive oil while the food processor runs. If the pesto is too dense, add some of the pasta cooking liquid, a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Pour the kale pesto over the pasta, stirring well to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the halved cherry tomatoes and stir to incorporate. Serve warm.

Tip: To transition this recipe from summer to fall, toss the tomatoes in a little salt and olive oil and roast at 400°F for about 30 minutes, or until they become soft and are just starting to caramelize.

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