Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

$3.89 recipe / $0.97 serving

I didn’t find out about National Kale Day until after the fact, but seeing pictures of delicious kale recipes all day made me really crave kale bad. What’s the fastest, easiest fix? Kale & pasta!

I chose to use whole wheat pasta for this dish because I felt like the nutty whole wheat flavor would go really great with kale’s earthiness. Whole wheat pasta with kale may sound like the most boring, torturous diet meal of all time, but when you lace them with garlic, parmesan, and a little butter, they take on a whole new personality. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes if you’re feeling sassy and it’s like pasta heaven.

This recipe makes four side dish sized servings, but you can bulk it up and make it a meal by adding a chopped hard boiled egg (or topping with a fried egg, like I did), adding some chopped fresh tomatoes (or sun dried), or even crumbling some bacon over top. This is just a starting point and it can go in about a million different directions. Have fun with it!

Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

5.0 from 20 reviews
Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $3.89
Cost Per Serving: $0.97
Serves: 4
  • ½ lb. (or one large bunch) kale $1.25
  • ½ lb. (8 oz.) whole wheat angel hair pasta $0.89
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp butter $0.30
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
  • salt & pepper $0.05
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan $0.87
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional) $0.05
  1. Tear the kale leaves from the woody stems and rinse well in a colander under cool, running water. Allow the kale to drain. Cut the kale into thin strips or small pieces.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break the pasta in half, add it to the boiling water, and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta in a colander.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil, butter, and minced garlic to another large pot or skillet. Cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is soft and fragrant. Add the kale and continue to sauté until the kale has wilted and has turned a deep green color (about 5-7 minutes). Turn the heat off.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the pot with the sautéed kale. Toss the pasta and kale together. Allow them to cool to the point that steam is no longer rising from the pot. You want the pasta warm, but not hot enough to melt the Parmesan.
  5. Season the pasta and kale with salt and freshly cracked pepper to your liking. Add the grated Parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes over top if desired.


Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta


Step by Step Photos


I was lucky enough to get this HUGE bag of pre cut kale for $2.50. It’s equal to about two large bunches of kale. If yours is not pre-cut, simply tear the leaves from the stems, give them a good rinse, then cut them into small pieces or strips.


You’ll want to get the pasta going first because the rest of the dish will be finished cooking in the time that it takes the pasta to boil. I like to break the pasta in half before boiling it so that you still have the illusion of long strands, but it is MUCH easier to mix in with other ingredients. Long pasta is really tough to stir together with other things. You usually end up with a blob of pasta in the center and all of the “add-ins” around the outside of the bowl or pot. Breaking it in half helps prevent this considerably. 

Butter Oil Garlic

Add your butter, oil, and minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. I like to us a pot with tall-ish sides so that the kale doesn’t spill out as I try to stir it. 

Sauté Garlic

Sauté the garlic over medium heat for a few minutes, or just until it becomes soft and really fragrant (it should smell like the best garlic bread you’ve ever laid your nostrils on).

Sautéed Kale

Add the kale and continue to sauté until the kale wilts down and is a really beautiful deep jade green. When I first put the kale in the pot it pretty much filled it up to the top, but it wilts down pretty quickly. This was after about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off after it’s wilted.

Drain Pasta


By now your pasta has finished cooking and you can let it drain in a colander. Let it cool for just a minute…

Combine Kale Pasta


Then add it to the pot with the kale and toss them together. Also let it rest a few minutes here until it cools to the point where no steam is coming off of the pasta. You want the pasta to be warm, but not so hot that the Parmesan melts into it and disappears. Use this time to season the pasta and kale with salt and pepper. I just sprinkle some on as if it was my dinner plate, give it a toss, taste, then add more if needed.


Finally, add the grated parmesan and toss to coat. You can add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you want a little kick, too.

Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

I went ahead and made it a meal by topping it with a fried egg because that’s how I roll. A diced hard boiled egg would also be awesome. 

And maybe some sriracha.

When vegetables taste good it’s like…


  1. Made this last night for me & fiance– LOVED it. I totally overuse spinach, and had a big thing of baby kale, so this was perfect. We used spaghetti and LOTS of red pepper flakes, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and the addition of a quickly sunnysided egg to each of our portions at the end was awesome. A great combination of flavors. I have to make myself wait a few days before we have this again! thank you :)

  2. Josee says:

    Made it tonight with spagettini and flakes of Parmesan cheese. It’s delicious:)

  3. I recently tried this recipe and for a person like me that hardly eats any kind of green vegetable it was BEYOND delicious. I did add a couple more tablespoons of butter cause the pot I was using wasn’t my preferred type of pot and I didn’t want the kale burning, but it only added to the flavor along with some added parmesan each serving. I highly recommend this to those who are pasta lovers, but need some veggies in their diet.

  4. Fate says:

    Just made this. Added bacon cause the boyfriend won’t believe it’s food without meat.
    Used flat egg pasta.
    Was delicious.

  5. Tammie says:

    Another winner!!! I couldn’t find my Parmesan cheese so I thru in some feta….outstanding! Even the kids loved it!

  6. Daphne says:

    Sensational! I blanch the Kale first in a colander several times to soften it – its hard to get baby Kale in Sydney – the Kale I’ve found here is pretty tough, but I love the taste of Kale so all good! Try Kale Pesto – I made it with Macadamia Nuts, Fresh Lemon Juice, Extra Garlic and Olive Oil, Parmesan Cheese – Yummmmm – you can eat it as a dip too with lovely fresh raw veggies.

  7. I’m going to make this, and add pancetta. I can’t wait!

  8. Another preschooler-pleaser!
    Made this last night and the husband ate two bowls and my three-year old ate her whole serving! I gave her the choice of this or the creamy spinach pasta recipe and she picked this one and was well-pleased.
    Seriously, lady, you are my new go-to source for healthy, quick, and cheap meals.
    You’re amazing, we love you!

  9. Tina P. says:

    This was an instant hit with my family. Even better was that it inspired me to modify a recipe of my own by adding kale to my family’s italian style spaghetti carbonara. That version is hot spaghetti ( or similar noodle) is tossed into eggs beaten with pramesan cheese then cooked with bacon pieces. I haven’t had leftovers even with the kale added in.

  10. Andrea says:

    I bet soba noodles would be really tasty in this recipe since they have such a nutty flavor. You could even make this recipe have more of an East Asian flavor by using sesame oil instead of olive oil and by adding chopped ginger to the pan when sauteeing the garlic!

  11. Stacy says:

    Yum! Just made this tonight and it turned out really well. I added in some mushrooms with the garlic, then topped it with some cherry tomatoes. I also squeezed a little bit of lemon juice on the kale afterwards. Delish! Next time I might take up the suggestion someone made on adding white beans. Or one day I’ll have to be brave enough to try this egg on the pasta thing…seems weird but you haven’t led me astray before :)

    Thanks for the recipe!

  12. Elise says:

    Also, I added the red pepper flakes with the garlic to better infuse this flavor in the olive oil, and the salt to the kale upon adding the latter to the pan. I find that seasoning while cooking (particularly in this case) just brings out the flavor far more (and seasons more evenly). Plus — and I’m sure Vincent will agree with this — salting pasta after the fact is just… weird. And it’s not done in Italian cooking. Ever.

  13. Elise says:

    Great dish, but I agree with Vincent. Breaking pasta in half is sacrilege. Tossing quickly and thoroughly is simple enough and makes for a much nicer presentation in the end.

  14. Michelle Ford-Copley says:

    This was DELICIOUS! We had this tonight with the white bean salad, your bread twists. and of course for our carnivores we had to add a grilled chop. I am SO full! Everything was delicious! We’ve eat from your recipes for the entire month and not had even ONE meal we didn’t like and will be repeating!

  15. Victoria says:

    Does this recipe still taste the same if I don’t use Parmesan? I don’t have any, and my mother is lactose-intolerant.

    • Parmesan is one of the main flavors in this recipe, so it will definitely taste different. That being said, garlic sauteed kale and pasta would probably still taste pretty good. :)

  16. Vincent says:

    Good recipe although….Italians never break pasta in half…….ever……not even once…..don’t even think about it……….Guy Fieri will visit you in the midle of the night……

  17. Christie says:

    This was so good! Thanks for the recipe, I’m making it again next week.

  18. Anne says:

    I made this yesterday evening myself. Followed exactly the recipe plus the fried egg. I added some fried bacon as well. That was DIVINE!
    Thank you so much for the recipe :)

  19. Fatima P. says:

    Loved this recipe. Added some sunflower seeds on top to give it a little crunch.

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