Kale Pesto Pappardelle Pasta

Pesto Pappardelle with homemade kale, basil, walnut pesto, and a healthy serving of fresh summer squash for perfect crunch. Better than restaurant, only 25 mins to cook! You will love the flavors.

Kale Pesto Pappardelle Pasta
Diet Info: DF GF F LF Na LS VG V Fa

This Pesto Pappardelle pasta recipe features clean, homemade, fresh, and vibrant Kale Pesto made with dino kale, basil, parmesan, lemon, and walnuts. Starting from fresh raw ingredients, pasta is ready in only 20-25 minutes. It is meat-less pasta and perfect to pair with any summer meal. 

I make a double batch Kale Walnut Pesto, in summer, for two reasons:

  1. Quick Recipe: Pesto is ready in just 10 minutes. Pesto is a great sauce to brighten the flavor of many dishes. Chicken Pesto Pasta is our family favorite.
  2. Summer Fresh Bold Flavors: Can't beat freshness and sweetness of summer fresh basil and kale. Pesto comes out very fragrant. This Pesto Pasta is the star of the table, every time!

If you too are fan of Basil or Kale? I'm sure you will enjoy Cherry Tomato and Basil Tortellini with Massaged Lemony Kale Salad

To Make Kale Pesto Pappardelle:

Simply put, this Kale Pesto Pasta is prepared with easy to find pantry and fridge staples. All you need is the ingredients to make fresh Kale Pesto and fresh or dried Pappardelle pasta. 

Here is what you need to make Kale Pesto:

  1. Kale leaves
  2. Basil
  3. Walnuts
  4. Olive Oil
  5. Parmesan Cheese
  6. Garlic
  7. Salt and Pepper

To make kale pesto, start with toasting the walnuts. Toasting walnuts improves the nutty texture and makes walnuts fragrant. I toast 1/4 cup extra walnuts to add nutty crunch to pesto pasta. Garnish just before serving!

While walnuts cool down, roughly chop kale leaves and basil leaves, and grate parmesan cheese.

In a food processor jar, add garlic cloves and toasted walnuts. Before adding kale, basil, olive oil, and parmesan cheese, pulse the processor a few times to mince the walnuts. This step ensures that walnuts blend and puree well with kale pesto. The resulting kale walnut pesto will have smooth texture.

Kale Pesto

Always make sure to adjust seasonings - lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to taste.

Pesto Pasta

To make Pesto Pasta, you will need:

  1. Kale Pesto
  2. Pappardelle Pasta - freshly prepared egg pasta or store-bought dried pasta.
  3. Zucchini - spiralized or peeled with vegetable peeler into thin ribbon style slices. Optional but recommended.
  4. Garnishes such as toasted walnuts, shaved parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.

Ingredients for Kale Pesto Pappardelle Pasta

Once the pesto is ready. Cook pasta according to package directions. Most egg based fresh pasta takes about 5-6 minutes to cook al-dente. Reserve some pasta water to adjust the Kale Pesto Sauce.

The key to cooking zucchini noodles is to transfer just cooked, drained hot pasta into a bowl with pesto and zucchini with the half of the reserved pasta water. Hot pasta will gently cook the zucchini.

Pesto Pappardelle

This is my favorite way to sneak-in some vegetables in pasta. Pesto coated zucchini ribbons look just like wide and flat pappardelle pasta. No one will even notice eating vegetables!

That's it! Pappardelle pasta with Kale Walnut pesto is ready to enjoy.

Kale Pesto Pasta

Friends, bring home the flavors of summer. Brighten up this weekend's dinner with this clean and simple Kale Pesto Pasta recipe. If you can't find egg pappardelle pasta, try Kale Pesto with any fresh or dried pasta of choice. If your local grocer sells fresh lasagna sheets, those too make great flat wide pasta just like Pappardelle. Let the adventure begin!

Pairing Ideas:

Spinach Blueberry Salad Brussel Sprouts Slaw Classic Caesar Salad

Kale Pesto Pappardelle Pasta

5 (5 reviews)
Kale Pesto Pappardelle Pasta
Total Time: Prep Time: Cook Time: Cuisine: Italian () Difficulty: Easy
Yields: 10-12 oz pasta - Serves: 4
(yields 1.25 cup pesto)



  • 1. Dry Toast Walnuts Heat a dry skillet on medium heat. Add walnuts and let toast for 4-5 minutes. Stir a few times. Don't let burn. Remove in a bowl and set aside.
  • 2. Prepare Ingredients for Pesto and Pasta Small chop kale leaves. Make sure to discard hard stems. See Note 2. Slice zucchini into thin ribbons using medallion slicer or vegetable peeper. Set aside. Grate parmesan cheese. Set aside.
  • 3. Make Kale Walnut Pesto In a food processor jar, add garlic cloves and half of walnuts. Pulse a few times to mince the walnuts. Open jar, use spatula to scrape the sides. Add chopped kale leaves, basil leaves, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice with half of salt and all black pepper. Process on medium then high speed until pesto is thick and creamy. Leaves are finely pureed. Taste and add remining salt and more lemon juice. Pulse a few more times. Remove in a large pasta bowl.
  • 4. Cook Pappardelle Pasta Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Once cooked, reserve 1/3 cup of pasta water for sauce and drain rest.
  • 5. Assemble Pesto Pasta Transfer cooked pasta into bowl with pesto. Add zucchini pasta with half of the reserved pasta water. Toss hot pappardelle pasta with zucchini pasta and pesto sitting at the bottom of bowl. Hot pasta will gently cook the zucchini. Taste and adjust salt (if needed)
  • 6. Garnish and Serve Transfer pappardelle zucchini pesto pasta to serving bowl. Garnish with remaining toasted walnuts and drizzle of fresh olive oil. Enjoy! See note 3 for making ahead.
Savita's Notes:
  1. I used Pappardelle Egg Pasta which cooks in just 5 minutes and has delicious texture. However, pesto recipe will work with any kind of of pasta. 
  2. Kale: I prefer to use Dino Kale for this recipe. To prepare kale for pesto, wash and dry leaves. Remove the hard inner rib and then small chop leaves. 3-4 large kale leaves yield 2 cups small chopped kale. (For ref.: see pictures in description)
  3. To make ahead, cook pasta and coat in few tablespoons of pesto. Refrigerate remaining pesto, pasta water. Mix in to the pasta just before serving.
  4. To reheat, mix pesto, pasta water with cooked pasta and fresh zucchini pasta. Toss to coat. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time until everything is heated through. No more than 1-2 minutes.

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8 Responses

  1. Ive always wanted to try pappardelle pasta. This recipe sounds amazing!
  2. My garden is full of basil. I will be making this pasta.
  3. This looks amazing. I will have to save this and try it soon. I love a good pasta, and this one sounds great.
  4. These pappardelle pasta look so fresh and tasty! A perfect summer dish!
  5. This kale pesto turned out so well! I used it with our penne pasta and it was a hit! Thanks so much for sharing!
  6. Using nutrient rich Kale is a perfect flavor addition in this great pesto. Goes amazingly well with the pappardelle pasta.
  7. What an awesome, light, healthy, delicious pasta for the summer! Thank you!
  8. Pappardelle is a fave noodle in this house. Theyre so fat and chewy and allow all those wonderful flavors to stick! This pesto was unbelievably tasty! Thanks for such a great recipe, Savita!