This healthy Kale Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad recipe makes a delicious lunch, dinner, or shared dish at a gathering. Please note, it is best served after two hours of refrigeration and/or it can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator overnight.
Makes 4 Servings
For main dish:
- 1 8 oz. box lentil or chickpea pasta (rotini, penne, or farfalle)
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 3 handfuls baby spinach or arugula
For the kale pesto:
- 1 small bunch kale, tough ribs removed
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup toasted walnuts nuts, toasted
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Keep at a low boil until ready to use.
- To make the kale pesto, blanch the kale leaves in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Using a skimmer, transfer the kale to a colander, and rinse with cold water.
- With the food processor running, drop the clove of garlic in through the top opening and process until finely minced.
- Squeeze the blanched kale leaves to remove as much moisture as possible, and rough chop the leaves. Add to the food processor, along with the basil, parmesan cheese and walnuts.
- Process until the ingredients are finely chopped.
- With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the oil, and process until you have a mostly smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook the pasta until al dente according to package directions. Before draining, reserve about 1⁄2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain and immediately rinse the pasta under cool water to prevent the noodles from sticking to one another.
- Transfer the cooked pasta to a serving bowl and toss with just enough kale pesto to thoroughly coat, adding a tiny splash of reserved pasta cooking water if necessary to thin it out.
- Then add the cherry tomatoes and greens.
- Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.