Vegan pesto pasta with kale

vegan pesto pasta bowl

Hope you guys enjoyed the Easter long weekend? We had grand plans of going hiking somewhere around Bristol, combined with having a picnic and a cake for Duncan’s upcoming birthday, but the weather had other plans…

Plus we decided not to push it as we have both been feeling a bit off colour lately. Nothing major, but I woke up with a sore throat on Saturday and Duncan is having a bit of trouble with his sinuses, so we decided that trudging in the rain is probably not the brightest idea. Especially that we are going away to Devon for Duncan’s b’day next weekend and being ill is not part of the plan.

We’ve decided to help our immune systems by doing some more gentle yoga, quitting sugar completely (I make it sound like that’s no big deal, but I have been craving chocolate SO MUCH, especially with my afternoon coffee) and consuming insane quantities of fresh ginger tea. It seems to be working as I am already feeling much better, so much so that I’m considering going running again tomorrow.

As I was overly enthusiastic in the veg aisle again, I ended up with tons of kale in my fridge. I wasn’t in the mood for a smoothie so I decided to make a quick lemony pesto out of it instead. I stirred it through some wholemeal pasta and added lots of green veggies to it to turn it into a spring-inspired dish. If you want this dish to be extra quick, don’t bother cooking the zucchini or asparagus as they can be both eaten raw, just slice them both very thinly (a speed peeler is your friend here) and add them to the pasta as they are. You’ll end up with less process and a welcome nutritional boost.

PS: If you do make my vegan pesto pasta with kale, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (#lazycatkitchen). I love seeing your take on my recipes.

vegan pesto pasta food processor

vegan pesto in a jar

vegan pesto pasta lunch

5.00 from 3 votes


PESTO (makes about 240 ml / 1 cup)

  • 70 g / ½ cup almonds (hemp seeds or sunflower seeds for nut allergies)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz kale (I used Lacinato kale)
  • 25 g / 0.9 oz fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ tsp salt, more to taste
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 120 ml / ½ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • 360 g / 13 oz tortiglioni, rigatoni or penne (GF if needed)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 courgettes / baby zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 200 g / 7 oz asparagus, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml oil (optional, if stir-frying vegetables)
  • hemp seeds (optional)
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Roast the almonds in a hot pan until golden and fragrant. You could also do it in an oven (180° C / 355° F) for about 10 minutes – start checking on them towards the end of the baking time as they can go from toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds. Allow the almonds to cool down completely before blending in the pesto.
  2. Place all the pesto ingredients apart from the olive oil into a food processor. I used 4 tbsp / ¼ cup of lemon juice in my pesto, but I like things to be lemony so you may want to adjust the amount to your taste. Process until chopped small and then start trickling in olive oil while the motor is going.
  3. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  4. Boil a large pot of water and cook your pasta al dente or to your liking.
  5. Prepare the vegetables by either boiling them, steaming or stir-frying quickly. I boiled the peas for 2 minutes and then plunged them in ice-cold water to preserve their beautiful colour and stir-fried the zucchini and asparagus in a hot wok for 2 minutes. You could also eat both the zucchini and asparagus raw (slice the zucchini thinly and shave the asparagus with a speed peeler) if you would like to incorporate some untampered nutrition into this dish!
  6. Drain your pasta and toss it in some pesto, mix the veggies in and serve.
  7. For the topping, mix the hemp seeds with nutritional yeast (1:1 ratio) in a small bowl for a quick vegan parmesan. Give each portion a squeeze of lemon and a light sprinkle of chilli flakes (I used fine Korean chilli flakes) if you wish.