Spaghetti with Kale & Walnut Pesto

Spaghetti with Kale & Walnut Pesto

A winter-friendly twist on pesto pasta, this spaghetti with kale and walnut pesto is a quick weeknight dinner and a delicious way to sneak in some healthy greens.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2 cups packed, torn kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for boiling the pasta
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup walnuts, toasted if desired (see note)
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

For Serving

  • ⅓ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted if desired


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and boil until al dente, about 10 minutes, or according to package instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the kale and basil; process until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.
  3. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the spaghetti in a colander. Add the spaghetti back to the pot and toss with the pesto and ½ cup of the cooking water. If the pasta seems dry, add more of the water. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary, then serve topped with the grated pecorino Romano and chopped walnuts.
  4. Note: Toasting the walnuts isn't essential, but it brings out their flavor and makes them crunchier. To toast them, preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the walnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake, checking frequently, until lightly toasted and fragrant, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer immediately to a plate to cool.
  5. Make-Ahead/Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The pesto will keep in the refrigerator for about a week or can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store in a tightly sealed jar or airtight plastic container, covered with a thin layer of olive oil (the oil seals out the air and prevents the pesto from oxidizing, which would turn it an unappetizing brown color).

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 888
  • Fat: 47 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 90 g
  • Sugar: 4 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 27 g
  • Sodium: 405 mg
  • Cholesterol: 29 mg