Vegan Kale-Pesto Pasta

Vegan Kale-Pesto Pasta

This silky sauce is a lovely mash-up of kale sauce, basil pesto and cashew cream. Thanks to a simple pot of water and good timing, it doesn’t require soaking nuts for 30-plus minutes: Just boil the cashews with basil stems and kale stems (which are perfectly edible). Part of the way through, add the kale leaves, then right at the end of cooking, add a handful of basil leaves to lock in their color. Blend everything with garlic and red-pepper flakes, and watch in awe as rugged kale and cashews transform into a bright-green sauce that’s as light as air. The 3 cups of sauce will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the kale ribs and stems, cashews and basil stems. Boil for 10 minutes, then add the kale leaves and cook until tender but not mushy, another 5 minutes. Add the basil leaves and stir just to submerge. Turn off the heat, then use a slotted spoon to transfer everything but the cooking liquid to a blender. (Don’t drain the pot; you’ll use that water to cook the pasta.) Set the blender aside to cool slightly.
  2. Step 2

    Meanwhile, return the pot of water to a boil; add more water if a lot evaporated in Step 1. Add the pasta and cook until tender (or according to box directions).
  3. Step 3

    To the blender, add ½ cup water, the garlic and the red-pepper flakes. Blend on high until very smooth. Season to taste with salt.
  4. Step 4

    Reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain the pasta. Return the pasta to the pot and add the green sauce. Stir vigorously to combine, adding pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce and help it cling to the noodles. (Sauce will thicken as it cools.) Add the lemon juice, season to taste with salt and red-pepper flakes, and eat right away.