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Making pesto out of leafy greens is a great way to pack lots of veggies into each serving of pasta. While traditional pesto uses basil, a kale pesto is equally hearty and fresh, plus it's loaded with antioxidants and protein. Make the pesto in advance if you're short on time and store it in the refrigerator, although it's best eaten the day of.

Recipe by Cooking Light September 2016


Credit: Jennifer Causey

Recipe Summary

20 mins
20 mins
Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Add shrimp to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture in a colander over a bowl, reserving 2/3 cup pasta cooking liquid. Place pasta mixture in a bowl.

  • Place almonds, rind, kale, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add reserved 2/3 cup pasta cooking liquid, salt, red pepper, black pepper, and 3 tablespoons cheese; pulse until smooth. With food processor running, pour oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream, processing until smooth.

  • Add kale mixture to pasta mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.

Nutrition Facts

472 calories; fat 21.7g; saturated fat 4.2g; mono fat 12.7g; poly fat 2.9g; protein 24g; carbohydrates 46g; fiber 8g; cholesterol 114mg; iron 3mg; sodium 575mg; calcium 241mg; sugars 1g.