Kale, Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta

One of my favorite things about late spring is planting our little garden. It’s nothing impressive, actually it’s crammed into our one and only planter in the front of our house… but it works! Last year we had endless amounts of basil. We kept picking it & using it, and it kept growing back until early October when it finally froze. We made pesto at least 2x a week, and now that our plant is growing again, we’re back at it!

Kale, Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta

This time I wanted to do something a little different and incorporate a few other greens into the mix. Kale & spinach are blended along with basil to make a thick, creamy, flavorful sauce that bakes up beautifully when tossed with pasta and topped with a handful of salty shaved cheese.

Kale, Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta

I also swapped out our usual walnuts for toasted pistachios. It just seemed like the obvious choice for such a green sauce 🙂

Kale, Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta

When the pasta was done cooking, I stirred in a bit of the water to thin out the sauce (that way I didn’t have to use a ton of olive oil) and then tossed everything together. Speaking of pasta, I love using big noodles, that way it traps some of the sauce inside. I’d suggest penne, rigatoni or even fusilli. You can even use whole wheat or gluten-free!

Kale, Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta

Then I poured the pasta into a 9×13 baking dish, topped it with a combo of shaved parmesan and pecorino and baked it for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese was nice and melty (side note: usually pesto doesn’t need to be heated, but I wanted the cheese to be melty & kale is healthier/better for you when it’s cooked).

Kale, Spinach and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta

We served ours up with grilled chicken and salad. It was so easy to make and was delicious as leftovers the following day. If you’re looking for a way to use up a handful or two of fresh basil, you’ve gotta give this baked pasta dish a try!

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Kale, Spinach, and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta on a baking dish.

Kale, Spinach, and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta Recipe

Brighten up your mealtime with our Kale, Spinach, and Basil Pesto Baked Pasta. It’s a delightful dish that screams spring, packed with flavors that'll make you smile!
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 -8
Calories: 566kcal
Author: Andrea
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Ingredients

pasta

  • 1 lb penne or rigatoni (regular, whole wheat or gluten free)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup reserved pasta water

pesto

  • 1 cup spinach - packed
  • 1 cup kale - packed
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves - packed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, pine nuts, walnuts or pecans - toasted
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil + more if needed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small lemon - juiced
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese

topping

  • 1/3 cup shaved parmesan or pecorino cheese
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Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package's instructions.
  • Meanwhile, in a large food processor or blender, layer the ingredients starting with the spinach, kale, and basil, then the garlic, toasted nuts, olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and cheese. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add a tablespoon or two more of olive oil. Continue to pulse/blend until smooth.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, drain the water, reserving ⅓ cup of the water. Mix it in with the prepared pesto until the sauce is loose.
  • Toss the cooked pasta with the pesto, then pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with ⅓ cup cheese, then place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese is melty. Remove and serve immediately.

NOTES

Recipe Source: Inspired by Pinch of Yum
-Grilled chicken makes a great addition to this bake; you could also add halved cherry tomatoes or sundried tomatoes.
To STORE your Spanish Kale Pasta leftovers, place them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To FREEZE, store your baked pasta in the freezer for up to 2 months.
To REHEAT, thaw in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, then warm in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius) until heated through, about 20 minutes. Adding a splash of water or extra olive oil before reheating can help maintain the pasta's moisture and prevent it from drying out.

Nutrition

Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 225mg | Potassium: 390mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1382IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 2mg

Recipe source: inspired by Pinch of Yum

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    OH MY 😭 This is SO DELICIOUS! Definitely adding it to my list of regular meals. Husband loved it too, we couldn’t stop eating. Didn’t have kale so I used double the spinach. Thank you!