A blender full of pesto is surrounded by kale, garlic, walnuts and oil.

Kale Pesto Pasta

If you follow my recipes, you know I am a pasta gal. I cannot get enough of the classic spaghetti and meatballs, but I love mixing it up and trying new variations of the tried and true classics.  And, if you have seen my recipes, you know I like to get as many nutrients out of each meal as possible, and this recipe is no exception.

This Kale Pesto Pasta is a great way to get many vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats into your diet, all in one dish. 

A delicious and healthy dish

The kale is a nice substitution for basil (what you normally find in a pesto) and since it is ground up in a food processor or blender, it is easier to digest than if you ate the kale leaves whole in a salad.  Kale also contains vitamin D, a nutrient many of us IBD patients are chronically low in, which is a fat-soluble vitamin.  Adding olive oil and walnuts to the pesto mixture aids in absorption of the vitamin D from the kale, and the healthy fats will also leave you feeling fuller quicker and longer (for those interested in weight management).  And, this dish contains plenty of soluble and insoluble fiber to keep your bowels regular.

I love tasting the freshness of the lemon, as well, which also adds a dose of vitamin C to keep our immune systems strong.  This is perfect for those who are vegetarian, but if you prefer an animal protein in your dish, feel free to add shrimp, salmon, or chicken. 

I hope you enjoy this delicious and healthy pasta dish as much as I do!

Kale Pesto Pasta

Serves 4


1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup torn kale leaves (no stems)

1 small garlic clove, peeled

1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese + more for serving

Salt and pepper to taste

1 box gluten free linguini (or regular if you are not gluten free)

Juice of 1 lemon

Sliced almonds, for serving


  1.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, then add the cubed sweet potatoes. Cook over medium heat for 15

minutes, or until soft.

2.  In a food processor or blender, add the kale, garlic, walnuts, parmesan, salt, and black pepper; blend until well mixed. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue to blend for another 30 seconds.  (Note: This will form a thicker paste that will thin out when added to the pan and pasta water)

3.  Bring a medium pot of water to boil, then add the salt. Cook pasta according to the package instructions. Reserve 1/3 cup pasta water before draining.

4. Add the pesto, pasta, and pasta water to the skillet with the sweet potatoes. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes until warm and the sauce has reduced. Squeeze lemon over skillet and toss until fully mixed.

5.  Divide into four bowls and serve with sliced almonds and additional parmesan cheese.

Nutrition facts

Servings: 4

Amount per serving

Calories 486

Total Fat 38.1g

Saturated Fat 5.2g

Cholesterol 6mg

Sodium 102mg

Total Carbohydrate 29.1g

Dietary Fiber 4.7g

Total Sugars 2.4g

Protein 13.3g

Vitamin D 0mcg

Calcium 169mg

Iron 3mg

Potassium 473mg

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Nutrition facts

Per Serving

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