Kale Pesto Pasta

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it’s ready in 15 minutes!

>Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

If you read my Newsletter, you know that my friend My Nguyen just released her first cookbook, My Healthy Dish, and I couldn’t be more proud of her!

I pre-ordered her book back in January, and when it F-I-N-A-L-L-Y arrived this month, I knew it was worth the wait. Here was a book brimming with all my recipe favorites but made healthy.

Because, as much as I want to eat Cheesy Potato Casserole for every meal, forever, it’s important to find balance.

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

Flipping through her cookbook, I happened upon her Kale Pesto recipe and knew I had to make it immediately.

I was simultaneously skeptical and curious about the brown rice pasta she so bravely included. You don’t see a lot of pasta substitutes around this blog because my barometer is always: Does this taste DELICIOUS?

Today, the answer is an emphatic yes. Including the brown rice pasta.

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

Brown Rice Pasta

If you don’t want to read about my brown rice pasta problems, feel free to skip this section.

I think the smell of brown rice pasta is weird. Cooked brown rice pasta, that is. When you’re pouring out the water to drain the pasta in the colander, I am all too aware that I’m not eating “real” pasta. Mental block situation.

I decided to plow forward, though. It turns out that if you put a full-flavored sauce on brown rice pasta (SUCH AS PESTO), the taste and texture is perfect. I would swear I was chewing regular pasta.

So why do we (and by “we,” I mean you) even care? Why am I still talking about this? Because we are the people who like to push our culinary boundaries, try new things, and experiment. We like food that tastes delicious. We are also not opposed to added nutrients if/when they appear (i.e., Accidentally Healthy).

In conclusion: Try brown rice pasta. Yes Mom, even you.

Kale Pesto

Kale Pesto was on my bucket list (yes, I’m a weirdo), so I was excited to have an excuse to dabble in it. The flavor of basil shines through here,while the kale adds nutrients and a pretty green color. (Side note: Normally I add parsley to pesto to make it bright green, but the kale does the same thing.)

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

Add in the other usual suspects: Pine nuts, parmesan, and garlic. My also added citrus (she’s such a California girl) and I fully approve.

I bought pine nuts that had already been toasted. If you have raw pine nuts, I’ve provided toasting instructions in the recipe notes.

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

So that’s it! In the time it takes you to cook the brown rice pasta, you can whip up a lightened-up Kale Pesto that is DELICIOUS.

For even more healthy twists on recipe favorites, buy My’s book, My Healthy Dish, on Amazon!

Here are some more recipes from her book that are on my radar: Granola Baked Chicken & Waffles, Pineapple Shrimp Wild Rice, Sticky Red Chicken, Creamy Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese, Cheesy Turkey Meatballs, Steak Fajita Salad Bowl, Chickpea Greek Salad, Turkey Sloppy Joes, Shrimp and Garlic Noodles… I could go on and on.

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

Save this Kale Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta to your “Side Dishes” Pinterest board!

And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!

Kale Pesto with Brown Rice Pasta

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Cook Time: 15 min

Total Time: 15 min

Kale is the best thing to happen to Pesto since basil. This Kale Pesto is perfect on brown rice pasta and everything else. And it's ready in 15 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 ounce) package brown rice pasta
  • 1 cup loosely-packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely-packed kale leaves, stems removed
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 quarts water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add pasta, return to a boil, and cook until tender, about 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, combine basil, kale, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Process until a coarse puree forms.
  3. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto comes together.
  4. Place the pasta in a large bowl. Top with Kale Pesto and toss to combine. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. May be served hot or at room temperature.
Notes:
  1. To toast raw pine nuts, place them in a small dry skillet set over medium-low heat. Toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes, shaking often to prevent scorching.
Barely adapted from My Healthy Dish.

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7 comments

  1. Looks delicious.  A must try.  Only thing to remember about rice or rice/corn pastas is that they go from al dente to mush quickly and they don’t fare well in soups unless added at the time of serving.  We gluten-free cooks already know this. :-)

    • I was hoping you’d notice my use of GF pasta. :) There’s a first time for everything! Thanks for the tips on avoiding mush. You are the master of this domain and I’m just the jester. ;)

  2. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Don’t know about my being a master but I have made brown rice-mush before I learned to not follow package directions but instead sample often. I’m going for kale and basil today.

  3. Looks delicious. Can’t go wrong with some healthy kale, thanks for the idea

  4. I want to try this recipe for tonight but do not have a blender or food processor as I am a college student. Would a nutribullet work to make the pesto?
    Thanks

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