This mouthwatering creamy kale pasta recipe features wilted kale, cooked in a luscious garlic lemon cream sauce, over noodles. It’s a cozy vegetarian dinner that comes together quickly!
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Most of the US is experiencing cold weather, snow, and/or ice right now, and we just got through two weeks of a brutally cold Arctic blast in Minnesota. So, yeah, I’m really craving ALL the comfort food!
Fortunately, this new creamy kale pasta is pretty much the definition of comfort food that’s still healthy and veggie-loaded. As you are probably aware, I make every effort to showcase vegetables that are in season in my blog posts. This month, I planned to highlight hearty winter greens.
But honestly, who feels like munching on raw greens when the wind chill is in the -30s?! I certainly do not. But a warm pasta dish, with perfectly tender kale tucked between the noodles and a luscious cream sauce? I can get behind that!
So, go on and grab a bunch of kale at the store this weekend. Check your pantry to make sure you have pasta and the handful of ingredients you need for the sauce…and get cooking! Winter greens, you have been “cozy-fied.”
How to Make Creamy Kale Pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and prepare the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta cooks, make the garlic lemon cream sauce in a large skillet. Cook the garlic in olive oil until fragrant (be careful not to burn it!), and add the flour quickly followed by the half and half and lemon juice. Cook and stir until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add roughly torn kale leaves to the sauce, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until wilted.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup or more of the pasta water. I usually add a tablespoon or so to the skillet with the kale and the sauce at this time to thin the sauce a little.
- Drain the pasta, return it to the pot, and pour the sauce and kale over the noodles. Toss until coated, adding pasta water as needed to get the sauce to your desired consistency. Enjoy warm with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Scroll down to the recipe card to see the full ingredients list and directions for creamy kale pasta. But before you get to that, check out these tips to help you make a perfect dish!
- Pasta: I recommend using tagliatelle or fettuccine for this recipe, but of course any kind of pasta will do!
- Kale: I used green curly kale, but you can use lacinato (dinosaur/Tuscan) kale or any other variety.
- Sauce: Feel free to adjust the seasonings and add more lemon and garlic as desired. When the kale is cooking in the sauce, it may look like there isn’t enough to cover the pasta. But once you thin it with pasta water, you will be surprised how well it coats the pasta. If you want more sauce, double the garlic, flour, half and half, and lemon juice.
- Serving: Creamy kale pasta is best served right away, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. Reheat the pasta in a skillet with a few drizzles of olive oil for best results.
- Additions: For more protein, add white beans or shredded chicken.
More Healthy Pasta Dishes
If you love this creamy kale pasta recipe, check out the One Pot Pumpkin Tomato Pasta, Healthy Chicken and Leek Pasta Bake, and One Pot Mushroom Spaghetti. For another dish using hearty winter greens, you may enjoy the White Beans and Escarole Recipe.
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Creamy Kale Pasta
- 8 ounces dried tagliatelle - can sub fettuccine or any other pasta
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup half and half - can sub heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice - from ½ lemon; use a whole lemon for more flavor
- Salt - to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper - to taste
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 1 bunch kale - stems removed and leaves roughly chopped/torn
- ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, according to package instructions. Before draining, reserve one or more cups of pasta water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute until fragrant, stirring frequently to avoid burning the garlic. Stir in the flour, quickly followed by the half and half and lemon juice. Stir and cook until thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and torn kale to the pan, and cook in the sauce for 3 to 5 minutes until the kale is wilted. At this moment, if the pasta has been drained and you have the reserved pasta water ready, add a few splashes of pasta water to the skillet to thin the sauce. Taste, and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Drain and return the pasta to its pot, then pour the kale and cream sauce over the noodles. (If you have room in your skillet, you can also add the noodles to the kale and sauce there.) Stir until coated, adding more pasta water as desired to thin the sauce. Stir in the parmesan cheese before serving!
- For more protein, add white beans or shredded chicken. If you want more sauce, double the garlic, flour, half and half, and lemon juice.
- This dish tastes best when served right away, but leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet with a few drizzles of olive oil until warmed through.
Enjoy this cozy meal! – Lizzie