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!
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.
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.
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 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.)
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until the pesto comes together.
- 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.
- 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.
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