Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

$3.37 recipe / $0.84 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.91 from 65 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

4.91 from 65 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. BudgetBytes.com
Servings 4
Prep 10 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions 

  • 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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Notes

*Whole wheat pasta goes very well with this dish.

Nutrition

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

TRY THESE OTHER QUICK PASTA RECIPES

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  1. This is a delicious recipe.
    I used green garlic, and finished with the juice of one lemon and *chef’s kiss*

  2. It was honestly ok- a meal that can be thrown in the rotation if we get kale and do not feel like making caldo verde. One thing we will be trying next time is using grapeseed oil to get a light char on the kale and add a little lemon juice or zest to brighten the dish.

  3. How well would this freeze I make my husband tv dinners that he takes to work. That way he gets to choose from a variety of meals

    1. This one might get a tad dry if frozen and then thawed because there’s not really any “sauce” per se, but I haven’t actually tested it.

  4. SO GOOD!  I’ve made this recipe twice now, and I want to make it all of the time.  Your instructions are very clear, and the recipe is very simple to make.  Thank you! 

  5. Now I understand why this dish is so popular on tiktok! This was SO good and so easy! I made less for just one serving and added some zucchini too. 11/10

    1. I haven’t really ever cooked with zoodles, so unfortunately I can’t offer any advice there.

  6. I love this. So easy to make and satisfying. You can modify to your liking. I prepared as written except I had larger noodles on hand. So good 😊

  7. I doubled the kale and oil and garlic and ate with rice instead of pasta. Very very tasty.

  8. Delicious!   I sauté some sliced mushrooms with the garlic/butter/olive oil before adding the kale

  9. I would love to make this for dinner or lunch for my husband the only thing is that neither my son or husband are big fan of kale but both of them love spinach
    could you substitute the kale for spinach instead

    1. You definitely can but the texture will be different.  Sautéed spinach has less body than kale and also you would not cook the spinach as long.

  10. Love this!
    I made it tonight for dinner and added a couple of things I had in my pantry. I added julienne sun dried tomatoes packed in oil. I use the oil from the tomatoes to cook all the ingredients. I also added toasted pine nuts at the end. To make it a complete dinner, I served it will pan seared salmon on top.  My husband loved it. 

    1. I have both sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts and was thinking the same thing! I am on a low cholesterol diet so will probably use less butter and add some olive oil. 

      1. White wine and or pasta broth can be added if cutting butter or olive oil. Pasta broth will slow the saute process as you will have to wait for pasta to finish but since you want pasta to cool slightly before adding P cheese to increase flavor that will work. I eat for several days and mw reheat so I use liquids of pasta broth and or wine, or chicken broth into large pot after I drain pasta then hest until blended before removing from heat and dumping pasta and kale into pot to mix. A little wetter it refrigerates well. Before I eat I add toasted nuts and fresh grated p cheese.