The simple addition of kale, lemon, and parmesan make an ordinary pasta into something bright and special!
I know, I know, another pasta salad. But I couldn’t resist. Who doesn’t love a good, simple summer pasta? A few simple tweaks here take your average pasta night to the next level! There are a couple things that make this Lemony Pasta with Kale and Parmesan such a summertime win:
- Lemon! Adding lemon to kale (and really adding it to anything) brightens it up and gives that healthy green such a pop of flavor that’s just right for summertime.
- Fennel! Every time I cook with fennel people ask if they HAVE to use it. Of course you can leave it out, but cooking it changes the flavor so it goes from a licorice taste to nice and sweet.
- It’s not a true pasta night without parmesan! Can I get an Amen?
- The lightest sauce. You’ll actually just save a cup of pasta water to add back in for moisture! This keeps things light without losing any flavor.
What’s the best way to serve Lemony Pasta with Kale & Parmesan?
There’s really no wrong answer here! This is a great summertime dish that pairs well with a bigger meal or even stands alone as a main dish. Truth: I love it both ways!
- Bring it to a picnic
- Hot, cold or room temp
- Serve it with BBQ
- As a casual summer dinner with a glass of wine
- For a potluck dinner with friends
What are the benefits of cooking with kale?
You probably know that kale is a mega superfood. I love sneaking it into a recipe whenever I can because I want those health benefits for me and my family. Although let’s be honest, my girls usually turn their noses up to it. It’s ok, I’ll never stop trying.
- High in fiber, so it’s good for digestion
- Has vitamins A, K, and C
- Surprisingly high in protein
- Contains iron and calcium
What else can I make with kale?
So many good dishes! Sometimes kale gets a bad rap, but when prepared well, it’s so, so good. Here are some of my favorites:
- Chopped Kale Salad with Pecans, Cranberries, & Herb Dressing
- Kale and Peach Smoothie
- Zucchini Sweet Potato Kale Frittata
- Blender Green Juice
- Mushroom & Kale Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls
- BBQ Chicken Kale Salad
Making Lemony Pasta with Kale & Parmesan couldn’t be easier
I find that these ingredients I typically have on hand. It’s also a great end-of-the-week recipe since the ingredients will last for a several days after your Monday grocery run! You can even use any shape of pasta your family prefers. Long, short, mix it up, use whatever you’ve got in your pantry.
Lemony Pasta with Kale and Parmesan
- 3/4 pound spaghetti, or any pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped
- juice from 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile heat a large pan over medium/high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced fennel and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes until soft and cooked down.
- Once water has come to a boil add 3 teaspoons salt to the water then add the pasta and cook according to package.
- Add the chopped kale to the fennel with another 1/4 teaspoon salt and some freshly cracked pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes until kale has wilted down. Turn off heat and set aside until pasta is done cooking.
- When pasta is done cooking, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and add the cooked pasta to the kale mixture.
- Squeeze the fresh lemon juice and sprinkle parmesan on pasta and toss to combine with the kale mixture. Add a little bit of the reserved pasta water as needed to help loosen up the sauce. Serve with extra parmesan if needed.
When you try a recipe, use the hashtag #lifeisbutadish on INSTAGRAM for a chance to be featured in my stories! Follow Life is but a Dish on PINTEREST | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM for all the latest content and behind the scenes!
Remember to subscribe to my free Life is but a Dish Weekly Newsletter and receive easy recipes delivered to your inbox every week!