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Lemony Pasta with Kale and Parmesan on a platter

Easy 20 Minute Kale & Lemon Pasta Dinner

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  • Author: Laney Schwartz
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian


In 20 minutes, dinner is done! Follow these steps at home to make this fresh, bright kale spaghetti. This quick and easy pasta dinner combines sautéed sliced fennel and kale with the juice of not 1 but 2 lemons! What I love most about this pasta dish is its versatility—serve it warm, cold or at room temperature.


  • 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
  • salt
  • pepper
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. 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.
  2. Once water has come to a boil add 3 teaspoons salt to the water then add the pasta and cook according to package.
  3. 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.
  4. When pasta is done cooking, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and add the cooked pasta to the kale mixture.
  5. 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.