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Kale pesto penne - This Kale Pesto Penne utilises both the stems and leaf of the kale in a delicious meal that my whole family loves. It's nourishing vegetarian meal.
5 from 5 votes

Kale Pesto Penne

This dish I developed out of wanting to include the nourishing stems of the kale in a meal. I often save them to add to bone broth but I wanted another option... and so this delicious, nutritious pasta was born. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4


  • 5 stem/s kale -washed well
  • 2 clove/s garlic -peeled
  • 50 g parmesan cheese (approx.)
  • 140 g raw almonds (1 cup) toasted
  • ¼ bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon/s (small) juice and zest
  • 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup) -extra virgin
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper -to taste
  • 250 g rice quinoa penne pasta
  • 30 ml olive oil -(2 tbsp) plus 1 tbsp water (extra)


  • Start with stripping the leaves off the kale stems, tearing them into small pieces and finely chopping the remaining kale stems.
  • Bring 2 cups of water to the boil in a large pot and boil the chopped stems (not the leaves) for 5 minutes (or until they have softened). Strain and set aside.
  • Refill the pot with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, cook your penne until al dente.
  • Meanwhile make the pesto.
  • In a food processor, chop the garlic. Thermomix 5 sec, speed 7.
  • Add the parmesan and process until finely grated. Thermomix 10 sec, speed 7.
  • Add half of the almonds and pulse until finely chopped. Thermomix pulse approx. 3 times.
  • Add the basil, cooked kale stems, lemon juice and zest, olive oil and pepper and pulse until it forms a course pesto. Thermomix pulse approx. 3-4 times.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, strain it and return the pan to a moderate heat. Add the extra 2 tablespoons olive oil and water and then add the kale leaves. Sauté stirring constantly until it is just wilted (but not browned).
  • Once they are wilted, return the pasta, pesto, remaining toasted almonds to the pot and stir to combine over a low heat.
  • Serve immediately.


  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge.



Substitute the almonds with toasted sunflower seeds.


Choose a gluten-free penne (I love rice and quinoa pasta).

Dairy-free and vegan

Replace the parmesan with nutritional yeast and a good teaspoon of sea salt.

Add in more veggies

I love to add in other vegetables sometimes too. A handful of cherry tomatoes, broccoli and sautéed mushrooms work really well, as does roasted sweet potato.

Add chicken or tuna

To up the protein content of the meal (though no longer vegetarian) add in cooked chicken or a can of tuna.

If your looking to convince your kids in the greens department...

Click HERE for loads of tips and recipe ideas.

I'd love to hear how you like this simple pasta dish. It's super tasty and so nourishing - you can leave a comment or rate the recipe below.