Recipe – Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta

Garlic Parmesan Kale feature image

Sauteing kale - so green!

Sunday evening of the snowstorm last weekend was fun.  They had just announced school and the federal government were closed, so I was a happy girl.  I had food in the fridge, a whole day off ahead of me, and a plan for dinner that combined all the food groups into one, and would potentially be very yummy.  I’ve been following a food blog called Budget Bytes for a while now, and it’s very satisfying for me to see how efficiently Beth does her grocery shopping and meal planning to keep her food budget low while cooking delicious foods…even if that’s just aspirational for me, and not something I’ll be able to do anytime soon.

She was recently doing her weekly review of food and mentioned a recipe that she’d posted a while back that she’d made that week because it was a staple and just super delicious – Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta.  Since our CSA would be sending us a bunch of kale that week, I scanned the ingredients to see if there was anything I could pick up at the grocery store to be able to make it.  The answer was no because I had everything at home already.  Score!  Bug I also wanted to perk it up a bit.  Beth mentions adding a fried egg on top for protein, but I don’t really like eggs other than scrambled or in omelette form (I know – sacrilege!) so figured I could add in some ground meat for protein.  I’d been poking through the grocery store the Tuesday before the storm, and picked up a pound of ground lamb, knowing that the boy loves him some sheep meat, and figuring I would use it for something (meatballs at the very least).

Cooked ground lamb. YUM!

I cooked the ground lamb first and once done cooking I moved it to a separate bowl to wait since I needed the skillet for cooking the kale.  And since there was a lot of leftover lamb fat in the skillet, I substituted that for the olive oil in the recipe, figuring it’d be too greasy otherwise, and butter definitely adds a different flavor.  This was an excellent call – the boy in particular made sure to mention that cooking the kale in lamb fat was a great idea.  So if you decide to mix in ground lamb to this recipe…consider cooking your kale in the leftover fat.  H & E also loved it – we were so pleased to have a dish which prominently featured vegetables be so well received.  It’s a rare thing for E to go back for seconds when green food is involved, so this was a coup.

All finished - nearly ready for plating!

Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta (with Lamb)

Yield: 8 single servings (4 if everyone goes back for seconds because it’s so good)


½ lb. (or one large bunch) kale
½ lb. (8 oz.) whole wheat angel hair pasta
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper
¼ cup grated Parmesan
pinch red pepper flakes (optional – I forgot to add mine)
1 lb. ground lamb (optional – Maggie’s addition)


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.

Cook ground lamb in a large skillet with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil.  When cooked through, remove to a bowl or plate, reserving leftover oil for cooking kale.

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.

While the pasta is cooking, add the butter, and minced garlic to the large pot or skillet that you cooked the lamb in. 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.

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.

FromBudget Bytes (my version is modified, obviously)

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