Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

I love making pestos, sauces, dips and spreads. They are a fantastic way to get in a lot of veggies for not only my hubby and I, but also my daughter. Peas are a great source of protein and kale is a powerhouse of nutrients, calcium and Vitamin C. This pesto won't make your child feel like they are eating veggies, especially when paired with pasta.  

Part of my passion on The Vegan 8 and my concept, is to show how easy and delicious a recipe can be with just a few ingredients. I have received a lot of great reviews on my creamy red pepper sauce w/basil from you guys, so I figured I'd share another really easy pasta/sauce dish. I got lots of ooohs and ahhhhhs on this one.

Slightly sweet and really garlicky. I LOVE garlic, so that was my focus on this one. If you don't like strong garlic, just use less. It is fabulous though!

Really, you could use this as a veggie dip too, with crackers or carrots to dip in. It is very versatile.

You won't believe how delicious this is with such few ingredients. I couldn't.

Yields About 4 cups


Garlic Kale Pesto Pasta

Garlic, balsamic vinegar and kale come together to create a boldly flavored pesto. Only a few ingredients are needed for a big impact. Rich acidic flavor comes from the balsamic vinegar, while the sweet peas help to balance it. The kale keeps it fresh tasting. Tossed with fresh pasta, this makes a very filling, healthy and delicious meal that comes together really quickly.

10 minPrep Time

10 minCook Time

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  • One 10 oz bag of frozen peas (280 g which is 1 3/4 full cups)
  • 1/2 cup water, add more as needed
  • 4-5 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1-2 tablespoons dark red wine balsamic vinegar (depending on how bold you want the flavor)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 oz of baby kale (about 3 heaping cups)
  • 12 oz gluten-free brown rice spiral pasta works best with this pesto
  • Garnish: chopped walnuts if desired (leave off if nut-free is a concern)


  1. Prepare the pasta according to package directions. While it is cooking follow the next steps.
  2. Add the peas, water, garlic, nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to a large pan and turn the heat to medium. Cook for 5-10 minutes until almost all the water has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add the cooked mixture to a food processor with the greens, in batches, until pureed and smooth. Add the warm pasta water to reach desired consistency. I added about 2 more tablespoons of water. Taste and add any additional seasoning, if desired.
  3. Serve over pasta.


*Gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free if leave off the walnuts garnish

*Nutrition per serving with pasta (1 cup): 417.5 calories, 3.25 g fat, 14 g protein, 85.5 carbs

*Nutrition on just pesto: 102.5 calories, .25 g fat, 8 g protein, 18 carbs

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  1. Yum! I will be reblogging this next week I think. Hope that is okay. Looks devine
      Of course I don't mind Cindy, thank you, I'm flattered! xoxo
  2. So tempting! Beautiful, Brandi!
      Thank you sweet Annie!
  3. I don't know what's calling me, colour or flavour! Cheers Choc Chip Uru
      Aww thanks! I think both, haha :)
  4. Nice pesto, peas and kale really nice combination, I imagine the peas would make this really creamy. Very versatile and so good for you!
      Thank you Suzanne! The peas balance out the bitterness of the kale and acidicty of the balsamic....all together it creates a nice bold flavor that we all enjoyed :)
  5. What a great idea using both kale and peas in your pesto, Brandi. I bet it was delicious and love that you didn't scrimp on the garlic. :)
      Oh, no....lots and lots of garlic! I love garlic!
  6. Smart with the addition of peas! This looks wonderful. Who doesn't like pesto?! And peas, I looove peas! :)
      Thank you Katie!
  7. I just made pesto but I could always use some more! I love that you used peas and kale in this recipe. Talk about increasing my veggie intake! I love garlic too so I always use lots 'n lots of it. This looks fabulous, Brandi!
      Thank you so much Nancy. It is certainly healthy and delish :)
  8. I just made this. It was so Simple, so Fast and SO DELICIOUS! .... and you're right don't skimp on the garlic!
      I'm so happy to hear that Louise! Thank you so much for the feedback. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and yes, lots of garlic! MMMM :)
  9. Peas, garlic and kale pesto? That sounds delicious! I love peas in anything else! Looks gorgeous ;)
      Thank you is a wonderful combo!
  10. I've always been concerned about the 'bitter factor' when considering kale in a pesto. Yours sounds absolutely delish though Brandi, and those photos definitely have me convinced! I will give your recipe a go. Love the idea of the added walnuts too (I am addicted to walnuts!) xx
      Thank you so much Laura! It isn't bitter, thanks to the peas and balsamic balancing it out with it's sweetness. It really comes together to a yummy pesto! I hope you enjoy it :)
  11. I just want to jump right inside my computer screen and eat that whole bowl right up! I'm loving the mixture of pasta, pesto and walnuts! I'm also a big fan of garlic. YUM!!
  12. I made your very delectable pesto & loved it so much! It was superb, Brandi! Really creamy too! :) Yummmmmm :) xxx
  13. That looks absolutely wonderful! What a great combination of flavours / ingredients.
      Thank you so much Georgina! It works really well together!
  14. Maybe I just missed it, but where do you add the red wine?
      Hi Holly! It's not red wine, but a dark red wine balsamic vinegar. I think it should be fine with and DARK balsamic vinegar though. I just prefer the one that contains red wine vinegar and grape musts, but just make sure you are using the dark and not white balsamic. Let me know how it turns out! :)
  15. Made this and it is my favorite pesto so far (haven't tried your other ones yet haha ;D)!! Perfected a wok I made and I enjoyed it on top of my toast too - YUM ♥
      Yay! Thank you so much Milla! So glad you loved the pesto. Thank you so much for making it!
  16. I like this recipe too much!
  17. hi! I was so excited to make this only to find out I don't have the dark red balsamic vinegar =) Do u think there's a sub for that? or leave it?I have apple cider, rice and white vinegar.. If none, I will just have to go to our nearest super market.. =) Thanks.
    • Hi Tess! The dark red balsamic vinegar has a distinct taste and I use a red balsamic vinegar by Alessi, so I'm afraid a regular vinegar will taste way too strong of an off vinegar. The flavors are pretty different and I just don't think white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will work here, sorry!
  18. This was good too
      I'm so glad to hear that, thank you!
  19. This looks delicious, Brandi! Thanks for letting me know about this in your comment on my Kale pesto recipe. Love the look of this - how bright and green this recipe looks. This is comfort food in a bowl.
      Thank you so much Florian! I need to try your version!
  20. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!! My boyfriend & his picky brother both liked it! I actually like this recipe more than the usual pesto sauce I make. Can't wait to try more of your recipes! :)
      Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback Lydia, I really appreciate it!
  21. Another winner! Delicious! We had all the ingredients apart from young kale, I had fresh 'grown up' kale and cooked it for a couple of minutes before adding peas etc. My husband loved it too. We both agreed, -far nicer than the old oily cheesy version I used to make before becoming vegan.
      I'm so happy you loved it Hazel, thank you so much for leaving feedback, I really appreciate it!
  22. This looks great! What is the yeast for, is there a substitute that could be used? Thank you!!
  23. How about White oak aged sherry reserve vinegar? Would that work?
      Hi! I have not tried that but I *think* it would work! Let me know!
  24. Is it alright if I don't use it right away or what is the best way to store it? Refrigerate in Mason jars? Please let me know ASAP :)
  25. Is it alright if I don't use it right away or what is the best way to store it and how long will it keep? Refrigerate in Mason jars? Please let me know ASAP :)
  26. How long will this keep and does it need to be refrigerated? Please let me know ASAP :)
      Hi Leni! This will last about a week in the fridge. Definitely needs to be refrigerated :)

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