This broccoli and kale creamy pesto pasta is the best of both worlds. It’s extra creamy from the avocado and walnuts but still packed with fresh flavor and nutrition from the kale, basil and broccoli! It comes together in just about 30 minutes and can easily be oil free and gluten free. It’s just the best fresh summer pasta!
I’ve been on a serious kale kick lately. I have basically find any way possible to add it to every meal.
The Best Part of Eating Plant-Based
One of the best parts of eating a plant-based life style is how you naturally start eating a lot more fruits and vegetables without trying. Now, I’ve told you before I am not a big salad person, but I’ve found that just vegan-izing old favorites means getting creative and figuring out how to replicate those flavors with plants!
For example, vegan nacho cheese. Regular nacho cheese is widely understood to be a junk food or at least NOT good for you. But my vegan nacho cheese (which can be found on the Vegan Chilaquiles recipe) is made primarily of potato, sweet potato, carrots, and cashews. It’s so much better for you than regular nacho cheese but still feels like such a treat!
Traditional pesto is also generally not the healthiest with all of the parmesan cheese and oil. By leaving out the cheese and using avocados and walnuts as the oil source, this vegan pesto is automatically so much healthier and even fits the whole food plant based bill! So much good nutrition, fiber and omegas! And I must say, it’s just as creamy and delicious as a regular pesto.
Now, making this pasta is super simple and quick! It also makes for great leftovers and would be an awesome meal prep recipe. I haven’t tried freezing the pesto because I always eat it all right away but I’m sure it would freeze just fine!
Making Your Pesto
First, put all of the pesto ingredients into a food processor. I have a 14 cup food processor and the ingredients filled almost to the top of mine. If you have a smaller processor, I’d pulse the greens first so they shrink and then throw in the rest of the ingredients. You could also pulse the ingredients in batches or even in a blender. As long as it is fully combined in the end and does not have any large chunks that’s all that matters!
Next, cook your pasta! I used regular spaghetti noodles but you could use any type you have or substitute brown rice pasta noodles if gluten free!
While your pasta cooks, sautee the onion and broccoli florets in a large skillet until cooked through. You want the skillet to be large enough so that you can toss all of the pasta in the pesto in it. I used a 12″ cast iron skillet.
Once your onion and broccoli is cooked, add in the pesto and about half to one cup of water or vegetable broth. This will help thin out the pesto so it is easier to coat the noodles!
Lastly, add your cooked pasta to the skillet and toss in the pesto until completely covered!
I like to top mine with more fresh kale, a tiny pinch of salt and this vegan parmesan cheese. It tastes and smells SO much like parmesan it kind of blows my mind! It also lasts forever in the fridge so you really get your money’s worth! I highly recommend if you can find it near you.
If you’re also on a kale kick and are looking for more recipes, try my Kale and Beetroot Salad, Sweet Potato and Kale Chickpea Frittata, or even my Vegan Corn Chowder has kale mixed in! I told you I can’t get enough!
Broccoli and Kale Creamy Pesto Pasta
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 1 ½ cups broccoli - can use frozen or fresh florets
- ½ - 1 cup water - use vegetable broth for a saltier pesto
- 12 ounces pasta - gluten free if needed
- vegan parmesan cheese - for serving
- 2 cups lacinato kale - tightly packed (about 1 bunch)
- 1 cup basil - tightly packed
- 1 ½ cup walnuts - raw
- 1 avocado - about ½ cup
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Remove stems of lacinato kale to prevent bitterness.
- Add kale, basil, walnuts, avocado, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to food processor. Process until no chunks remain. It should have a little bit of texture but no large nut pieces. If your food processor is small you may need to do this in batches or process the kale and basil first to shrink them down.
- Next, cook your pasta according to package instructions.
- While the pasta cooks, sauté the onion and broccoli florets in a splash of water or vegetable broth until broccoli is soft. You want to use a large enough skillet to later fit the pasta and pesto as well.
- Once the onion and broccoli is soft, add in the pesto and half to one cup of water or broth (use broth for a saltier pesto). Allow the pesto to warm through.
- Finally add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss in the pesto until fully incorporated.
- Serve immediately with more kale, a sprinkle of salt and vegan parmesan!
- I have not tried it, but I think the pesto should freeze fine if frozen on it's own. If you try it please let me know!
- Use gluten free pasta or even zucchini noodles if gluten free! I really like this brand.
General note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.