Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

$3.37 recipe / $0.84 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.77 from 81 votes
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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? Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta! This one is SO easy and SO satisfying, guys!

See this recipe used in my weekly meal prep.

A huge bowl of Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta with some twirled around a black fork.

Use Whole Wheat Pasta for Extra “Nutty” Flavor

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.

Sometimes whole wheat angel hair is hard to find, though, in which case you can just use regular. Either way, I do suggest using angel hair pasta rather than other shapes because I find that the thin texture really balances the mouthfeel of the dish.

Use a Different Vegetable

Not a fan of kale? No problem! I use this pasta-butter-Parmesan combo with all sorts of other vegetables. Spinach is great, but so is broccoli (see Bowties and Broccoli), or sautéed mushrooms. If you have leftover roasted vegetables, toss them in there. :)

How to Serve Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

This Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta 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 a fried egg, adding some chopped fresh tomatoes (or sun-dried), or even crumbling some bacon over top. I also love topping it with my Garlic Marinated Chicken, cut into strips. This is just a starting point and it can go in about a million different directions. Have fun with it!

Close up of Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta Twirled Around a Fork
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Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

4.77 from 81 votes
When you’re in a hurry, this Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta is a filling and flavorful meal. Few ingredients, BIG flavor. 
When you're in a hurry, this Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta is a filling and flavorful meal. Few ingredients, BIG flavor.
Servings 4
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes


  • 1 bunch 1/2 lb kale ($1.69)
  • 1/2 lb angel hair pasta* ($0.50)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil ($0.26)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.27)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.41)
  • Pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • Pinch red pepper flakes (optional) ($0.03)


  • Pull the kale leaves from the woody stems and tear them into small 1 to 2-inch pieces. Rinse the torn kale well in a colander under cool, running water and allow it to drain.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Break the pasta in half, add it to the boiling water, and cook until al dente (about 7 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil, butter, and minced garlic to another large pot or skillet. Cook over medium heat for 1-2 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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*Whole wheat pasta goes very well with this dish.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 373.7kcalCarbohydrates: 48.98gProtein: 11.48gFat: 15.33gSodium: 309.9mgFiber: 4g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead shot of a finished pot of Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

How to Make Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta – Step by Step Photos

Prepare Kale

Pull the leaves from the woody stems of one bunch of kale (about 1/2 lb.). Tear the leaves into 1 to 2-inch pieces as you go. You can also use bagged, pre-chopped kale, if desired.

Rinse Kale

Place the kale in a colander and rinse well with cool running water. Allow the kale to drain.

Cook Pasta

Begin cooking 1/2 pound angel hair pasta according to the package directions. 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. Breaking the pasta in half before boiling makes it MUCH easier to mix in with other ingredients when it’s slightly shorter (it still looks just like long pasta once mixed). 

Garlic Butter and Oil

Add 2 Tbsp butter, 2 Tbsp oil, and 2 cloves minced garlic to a large pot or skillet. I like to us a pot with tall sides so that the kale doesn’t spill out as I try to stir it. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for a couple 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).

Sauté Kale in butter and garlic

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.

Add Cooked Pasta to Kale

By now your pasta has finished cooking and you can let it drain in a colander. Let it cool for just a minute., then add it to the pot with the kale and toss them together. Let them rest for 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.

Add Parmesan and Red Pepper to pasta and kale

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

Finished pot of Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

I went ahead and made the Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta into 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.

Overhead shot of a large bowl full of Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta
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  1. Hi. I realize how much I do not like Kale however my husband does. Did not like this recepie. It was very dry even after I took some of the reviews to alter – Added fresh lemon, white wine, some more butter etc. I would probably make this with spinach to give it another chance but it needs some liquid or something to have the pasta moist.

    Tks Jo

    1. I added diced tomato, used spinach and topped off with warmed cooked shrimp! You can always add some of the pasta water to thin it out!