Healthy Spaghetti Recipe With Walnuts & Kale: A 30-Minute Vegetarian Pasta Dinner by Jan Mostrom

Pasta Vegetarian Dinner
10 months ago

We're having so much fun trying new recipes for date night once a week. My husband Terry does a little research and finds one, usually plant-based for me, that sounds interesting and not too difficult to execute. This pasta recipe with kale and walnuts is very simple and will only take about 30 minutes to prepare.

Be brave and try different ingredients based on what you and your family like or have in your kitchen. Don't care for kale? Use spinach, but remember you'll need more spinach than kale because it breaks down further. It's the same if you don't like walnuts. Just substitute another nut you have or like better (cashews, macadamia or almonds are some of my favorites). I like to get the inspiration and go from there. (We also substituted gluten-free lentil spaghetti pasta for this recipe to get extra protein.)

The ingredients you'll need for this easy pasta recipe are kale or other leafy greens pasta, fresh garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, extra virgin olive oil, a lemon, walnuts and a little Parmesan to sprinkle on top. Let's get cooking and have some fun!

Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup (4 ounces) walnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 6 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 -  1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 6 cups kale, stems removed and chopped
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti or other pasta
  • 1 small lemon, halved
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Here's how to make it:

  1. Place a large pot of salted water on stove to boil. While water boils place a large frying pan on medium heat to warm. Add chopped walnuts and gently toss until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, making sure not to overcook. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and stir for about 1 minute. Place in a small bowl and wipe out the frying pan.
  2. When water is boiling add pasta and cook according to package directions, making sure not to overcook.
  3. Return frying pan to stove and low heat. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and garlic to pan and sauté 1 to 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and stir for another 1 minute. Remove pasta saving some of the pasta water. Set aside pasta when cooked. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on it to keep it from sticking.
  4. Increase the heat to medium and start adding kale mixing it with the garlic and oil, salt and pepper until it begins to wilt.
  5. Continue to add kale until all the kale is added in. If needed add a bit more olive oil. (Tongs can be very helpful to turn the kale mixture over.) Add about 2 ladles of pasta water to the kale, lower heat to low and cover to wilt the kale completely. Add the juice from the lemon and more salt and pepper, if needed. Remember you'll be adding Parmesan at the end so make sure not to over-salt!
  6. Transfer pasta and half the walnuts and cheese to kale mixture and toss. If mixture seems a bit dry add a bit more of the pasta water and stir. Taste to see if you need more salt and pepper.
  7. Transfer to bowls and top with more walnuts and grated Parmesan.

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Always trying to get more greens in creative ways. This recipe looks like a keeper in that regard.
Jan Mostrom
bepositive For sure! I'm always looking for that as well. Try the creamed greens pot pie too. We've made the pot pie for ourselves and friends and it's a huge hit!
Elisa Schmitz
Loving your date night recipes, Jan Mostrom ! So fun to see you and your hubby trying new things together. This recipe looks delish! I'm also intrigued by the mocktail suggestion!!

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