pasta with kale, lemon and toasted walnuts
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is an easy, tasty, family approved and under 30 minute weeknight pasta!
Recipe type: pasta
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 pound whole-wheat or regular spaghetti - I prefer bionaturae whole-wheat pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic (approx 3 large cloves), minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and thinly sliced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • zest of 1 lemon (approximately 1½ tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for topping - If you're using regular pasta you can use Parmesan cheese, but I would suggest using the Pecorino for the whole-wheat version.
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and then broken into small pieces
  1. Let's start by prepping the ingredients. Toast up the walnuts. To toast them, just put some raw walnuts in a dry skillet set over medium heat, and cook, watching constantly and stirring frequently, until walnuts start to brown and smell toasted, about 5 minutes. Set them aside.
  2. Wash, de-stem and thinly slice your kale.
  3. Mince your garlic cloves, and zest and juice your lemon.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup pasta water and then drain.
  5. Meanwhile, when the pasta has about 5 minutes left to cook, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, until tender and fragrant.
  6. Add in the sliced kale along with a pinch of sea salt, and cook, tossing and moving the kale around so that it doesn't burn, as well as making sure that it gets coated in the olive oil and garlic mixture, until wilted and tender, about 1-2 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add in the lemon zest and juice, and give it all a good toss to combine.
  8. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to combine.
  9. Add in some of the reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce. This is to taste and you really just want to add enough water so that the pasta isn't sticking together in clumps.
  10. Add in the ½ cup grated cheese and toss to combine.
  11. Serve the pasta up into individual bowls and top each bowl of pasta with the toasted walnuts and the grated cheese.
Recipe by Marin Mama Cooks at