Lemon Kale Pasta

Kale pasta has a light lemon garlic sauce that is just creamy enough to coat linguine and make kale taste much better. A super fresh, summery pasta has chewy linguine, olive oil, garlic, tangy lemon juice, a handful of parmesan, and delicious bits of kale.

Linguine tossed in a light lemon garlic sauce and kale

Kale Pasta

Making Kale Pasta is simple, has a short list of ingredients but it’s big on flavor and texture. The zesty lemon garlic sauce is light, refreshing, and incredibly delicious. If you run away from recipes with Kale thinking that it would make the dish bitter, boring or bland, this kale pasta is going to change your mind for sure.

The pasta sauce is not loaded with cream or butter. Olive oil, fresh lemon, good does of parmesan and pasta cooking water make the sauce just enough creamy and coat the pasta with a glossy slurpy sauce. Overall this light and refreshing Kale Pasta is a winner and one of our favorite summer dinners.

This Lemon Garlic sauce is so refreshing and will totally surprise your taste buds. I do love a Creamy pasta, but there are days I would rather like to have light sauce pasta for a change.

Linguine tossed in a light lemon garlic sauce and kale

Lemon Kale Pasta Ingredients

  • Pasta: Linguine or fettucine is my choice of pasta here. Because of its flat shape, it coats the sauce really well. You can use any kind of pasta you want.
  • Kale: I love to keep an equal ratio of pasta and vegetables. Kale is the star ingredient here. The slightly bitter taste of kale with lemon garlic sauce is just spot on. Because, Kale shrinks once cooked, even if the quantity looks a lot, once cooked it will just be enough.
  • Parmesan- Always freshly grated out of a block
  • Garlic– fresh minced garlic.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Good quality Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


For an extra lemony kick, add lemon zest. I love to add a good pinch of red pepper flakes for added heat. You could also add Italian seasoning for more flavor.

If Kale isn’t your thing, substitute with spinach.

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Ingredients for Kale pasta

Watch How To make Lemon Kale Pasta

  • Cooking kale is optional but I feel it adds a good flavor. I add a pinch of salt too.
  • Keep aside the cooked kale and to the same pan add olive oil and warm it. Saute garlic until fragrant.
  • Next is to make the sauce. Oil, pasta water, and lemon juice emulsify together and make a glossy not so cream sauce. Mix it vigorously and cook it down for the sauce to reduce.
Saute Kale
Saute garlic followed by add pasta cooking water and lemon juice for the sauce.
  • Add cooked pasta to the pan, seasoning, and grated parmesan. Lower the flame and toss the pasta in a circular motion for the sauce to thicken further and coat the pasta well. Add a little more pasta cooking water if required.
  • Stir in the cooked kale and parsley. Toss and serve with more parmesan shavings on top.
To Lemon sauce add cooked linguine, parmesan cheese, seasoning and kale
Linguine tossed in a light lemon garlic sauce and kale

Recipe Tips

  1. Salt pasta cooking water generously. Add just enough water to cook the pasta, so that the pasta cooking water will be starchy enough( too much water = diluted pasta cooking water with less starch) and help making the sauce creamy.
  2. I cook pasta just a little undone and finish cooking it in the pan along with the sauce. This ensures the pasta absorbs the flavors well and doesn’t get mushy while tossing with the sauce.
  3. After you add pasta, toss the pasta in a circular motion for the sauce to emulsify and thicken.
  4. For recipes like these I have found grating parmesan fine works best and melts into the sauce, instead of shredded parmesan. This is something I have faced earlier but if it works for you then go ahead.
Linguine tossed in a light lemon garlic sauce and kale. Served with fresh parmesan shavings.

Storing Leftovers

Unlike creamy pasta, this pasta stores well, thanks to Olive oil. You can store it for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.


Pasta might look a little dry upon refrigeration. Sprinkle some water while microwaving it.

Flavours of Kitchen Logo

Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Lemon Garlic Kale Pasta. Pasta, Kale, Mushroom, peas tossed in a buttery lemon garlic sauce and topped with Parmesan. This one-pan delicious dinner is easy and quick to make
Servings 4 Servings


  • 250 grams Linguine (8 ounce)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic Minced
  • 4-5 cups Kale
  • 2-3 tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese Finely grated


  • Clean Kale under running water. Remove the stems. Chop them roughly.
  • In a big pot bring water to a boil. Salt generously. Add the pasta and cook it little underdone than you prefer( we will cook it later in the pan while tossing in the sauce). Reserve 1-1.5 cup pasta cooking water just before draining the pasta.
  • Heat a 12-inch skillet. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil and saute chopped kale for 1-2 minutes until it has reduced to half the quantity ( sprinkle a pinch of salt while adding kale to the pan). Remove from pan and keep aside.
  • Heat remaining olive oil in the same pan. Add minced garlic. Fry for 30 seconds.
  • When garlic is fragrant, add 3/4 cup pasta cooking water and fresh lemon juice. Cook the sauce for 2-3 minutes whisking in circular motion, until the sauce has reduced a little.
  • Lower heat. Add drained linguine, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (if using) and fresh lemon zest (if using). Sprinkle grated parmesan. Toss gently until parmesan melts into the sauce and pasta is coated with the sauce and looks glossy. If the pasta looks dry, add 1/4 cup more pasta cooking water.
  • At the end add cooked kale and mix. At this point you can check and add more lemon juice if you wish more tangy sauce.
  • Serve with more fresh parmesan shaving on top.



  • Pasta cooking water has already slat in it. So add more salt to the pasta accordingly. 


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 316mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2245IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 293mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Susan Jones says:

    3 stars
    Good taste but proportions were off fir me — it needed more sauce, half the pasta. I felt it needed more lemon juice and pasta water. I also pan seared a chicken breast to serve alongside which really wasn’t necessary as the pasta was very filling. Good healthy recipe, I will just modify it a bit next time for our preferences.

  2. 4 stars
    Really enjoyed cooking and eating this dish! I replaced the mushrooms with quorn chicken pieces and I left out the Parmesan as I didn’t have any. Delicious, balanced, healthy and colourful. I will be making this a regular. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. 5 stars
    I love lemon and garlic! Goes great with pasta! I couldn’t taste the lemon so I added more, I should have saved more pasta water cause it needed more of that too! I would definitely make this again, making a sauce to go with it!

    1. I loved this recipe and will make again!
      I used 16 oz of dumpling noodles, the entire container of sliced mushrooms, a small can of peas (will change to frozen and use I cup, next time), the juice of a whole lemon and added 2 large, diced chicken breasts.. It turned out delicious!! Will definitely make again!! It makes a great deal and I shared with my neighbor who is asking for more, also!! Delicious way to get more veggies in my diet!!

4.16 from 33 votes (30 ratings without comment)

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