This Kale Sauce Pasta is made with a homemade Kale Pesto and topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped pistachios. It’s the perfect easy and healthy pasta recipe that comes together in just 15 minutes! 

I love kale! I know you’re either a fan of kale or you’re not, but trust me when I say that my kale recipes make any kale haters change their tune! Some of my favorites are my Kale Pizza and my Kale Salad with Balsamic Dressing

Kale Pesto Pasta with rigatoni noodles on a white plate.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Dinner in under 15 minutes. It’s true! This recipe is super easy. All you have to do is blend all the pesto ingredients together while the pasta is cooking. Easy peasy! It’s the best quick meal for any busy night of the week. 
  • Healthy dinner recipe. This kale sauce pasta is packed with the healthy superfood kale! 
  • Made with a kale pasta sauce. This kale pasta recipe is made by tossing cooked noodles in a delicious kale pasta sauce that is like a cousin to basil pesto. It’s my favorite way to use kale! 

Ingredient Notes

Kale Pesto Pasta ingredients on a white background (kale pesto, noodles, pistachios, parmesan).
  • 1 Batch Kale Pesto. Make my homemade kale pesto recipe for this delicious kale pesto pasta! You’ll need a big bunch of kale, lemon juice, good quality olive oil (I recommend extra virgin olive oil), pistachios, salt, and garlic (can add crushed red pepper flakes for some heat). 
  • Pasta: Feel free to use your favorite pasta. 
  • Parmesan Cheese: I love topping this kale pesto pasta dish with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make the Kale Pesto Recipe. See my kale pesto recipe for detailed instructions on how to make kale pesto, tips, FAQs, and more. Essentially, add all the pesto ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions, until al dente. Drain the water and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 
  3. Combine kale pesto and the cooked pasta. Place the hot pasta back in the pot and add the kale pesto sauce. Stir to combine. Slowly add in a little pasta water until it reaches a saucy consistency (dump any excess water). Top with fresh parmesan and chopped pistachios, if desired. Enjoy! 
Four images showing how to make kale pesto, then adding it to cooked pasta, and tossing to coat.

Recipe Tips

I like to add a splash of the reserved pasta water to the noodles and sauce to make things a bit saucier as you combine things. You may not need as much water as the 1/2 cup you reserved, but still reserve that much just in case.  

Make a creamy pesto by adding a spoonful of sour cream and some mashed avocados. 

For the kale pesto, feel free to sub out the pistachios for pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, or pepitas.


  • To make this dish healthier use whole wheat pasta or zucchini noodles.
  • Add a seasonal vegetable. You can toss in your favorite steamed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, or even some finely chopped kale!
  • Serve with fresh tomatoes.
  • Add fresh lemon zest to the finished dish for added brightness and zing.
  • Add grilled chicken, shrimp, rotisserie chicken, or some bacon pieces for a delicious way to add protein.

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

You can make the kale pesto ahead of time and store it in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. 

Store any leftover kale pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. Store any leftover kale pesto in a mason jar in the fridge. 

You can freeze the kale pesto, but I don’t recommend freezing the pasta. 

Rigatoni Kale Pesto Pasta on a white plate against a white background.

Recipe FAQs

Can I add chicken to this kale sauce pasta?

Yes you can! That’s a great way to add protein to the dish. See my Recipe Tips section above for more delicious variations. 

What kind of kale should I use?

I like to use curly kale, but you can use baby kale, tuscan kale, or lacinato kale if you’d like. 

Is the kale pesto diary free?

It isn’t, but you can sub out the parmesan cheese for some nutritional yeast (also makes it a vegan kale pesto). 

Kale Pesto Pasta on a white plate.

Basil Pesto Recipes

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a star rating and review or scroll below the recipe card and do so there. 

Stay up-to-date by following us on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Rigatoni noodles tossed in kale pesto, garnished with chopped pistachios and parmesan.
Print Save Review
5 from 1 vote

Kale Pesto Pasta

An easy lunch or dinner you can throw together in a matter of minutes. Simply make the pesto and toss it with some noodles.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 2/3 cup kale pesto
  • 8 oz pasta - any variety
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • freshly grated parmesan for topping
  • chopped pistachios - for garnish


  • Make the kale pesto by processing the kale pesto ingredients in a food processor. 
  • Cook pasta in salted water. Once al dente drain the water, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 
  • Place the pasta back in the pot and stir in the kale pesto. Slowly stir in some of the reserved pasta water, just enough to moisten the noodles and create a smooth sauce with the pesto. (Could also use a tablespoon or so of olive oil in lieu of the pasta water).
  • Divide the pasta amongst bowls, top with fresh parmesan and chopped pistachios. Serve immediately. 


Calories: 411kcal (21%)Carbohydrates: 47g (16%)Protein: 11g (22%)Fat: 20g (31%)Saturated Fat: 3g (15%)Cholesterol: 3mg (1%)Sodium: 245mg (10%)Potassium: 321mg (9%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 30600IU (612%)Vitamin C: 38mg (46%)Calcium: 109mg (11%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Did you make this recipe?Leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Instagram and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!