This kale pesto is simply delicious. Fresh al dente pasta coated with creamy, garlicky kale and basil pesto, tossed with chunks of savory sausage couldn’t get any better! Eating your veggies has never been more delightful. One day I’ll be using this recipe to trick my kids into eating and loving kale, they won’t even have to know!
Kale Pesto – The Details
Get your blender out (hopefully yours has more power than my old one at my parents’ place – but we take what we can get!) Next, boil some water and blanch your kale for 1 minute. It seems like a silly step but trust me, it’s important. Don’t skip the blanching! It cooks the kale just enough to take the bitterness out. And on top of that it adds more liquid to your pesto, therefore making it easier on your blender, and that added water is needed to bring the pesto together!
Add your blanched kale to the blender with oil, garlic cloves, and parmesan cheese, and dinner is just about ready! In the same pot you blanched the kale, add your pasta and cook to package directions. And in a smaller pan cook your sausage over medium to high heat, breaking into bite size chunks. (The sausage is my favorite part.)
Kale Pesto – Tuscan Kale vs. Regular Kale
I never liked Kale growing up. I found it bitter and flavorless and I avoided it at all costs. That is, until my boyfriend introduced me to Tuscan kale. And it was like suddenly like the clouds parted and I realized, I kind of love kale! Little did I know there was such a variety of kale out there. I still have to try red kale, so stay tuned for that.
Tuscan kale is softer, greener, and not as bitter. It’s also know as dino kale, and lacinato kale. And it’s a better option for salads, soups, and pastas. Regular kale is tougher and thicker, making it a bit harder to work with in my opinion. Often regular kale needs to be massaged before use, or you can do what my mom does and boil it into submission. You see why I’ve never liked kale before, right? (Sorry mom! Remember, if you’re reading this, I love your cooking!)
Get Ready For A Wild Ride
This kale pesto is so memorable for me, and not just because it’s delicious and I want to make it like every week. No, this kale pesto is memorable because I’ve made it so many times, and once I even made it during a crazy hurricane! Like multiple trees down, power’s out, I’m making pasta in the dark crazy. Yeah you read that right, this kale pesto is so easy to make you can make it in the dark with no power!
I mean, it helped that our neighbor ran an extension cord to our house so I could plug in my blender. Thank you Pat, and Todd, for your contribution to our dinner that night. I will never get the memory of sitting by the front door with the blender desperately trying to finish dinner before the sun completely went down.
Other Recipes To Try:
If you’re loving this kale pesto as much as I am, try these other delicious Happy Stirring pastas. If you can’t tell I’m a major pasta lover.
- Classic Italian Basil Pesto
- Mushroom Cream Sauce Pasta
- Cheesy Pastitsio
- Baked Feta Pasta with Zucchini and Sausage
- Spicy Vodka Pasta with Creamy Goat Cheese
- Pasta with Spicy Sausages and Green Onions
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Kale Pesto & Sausage Pasta
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage crumbled
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 lb pasta of your choice
- In a large pan over medium heat, cook sausages thoroughly, crumbling as it cooks 15 – 20 minutes. (see notes)
- While the sausage cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Wash your kale thoroughly, submerge kale in boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove kale from water, bring pot back to a boil, and add your pasta. Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Remove stems and combine kale in blender with oil, garlic, basil, and parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth, if you need more liquid, add 1 Tbsp pasta water at a time until smooth.
- Mix pesto, cooked pasta, and sausages and serve immediately with some extra parmesan cheese on top.
- For the sausages: make sure you remove the casing prior to dropping it into the pan, typically I remove the casing, and then crumble it with my hands. Then as it cooks I continue to break it up with the spoon, until it’s small enough for the pasta (think bite sizes pieces.)
- I’ve also tried this recipe without the sausages and it’s just as good, so if you adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, you can enjoy this dinner just exclude the sausages.