Penne Pasta with Cauliflower and Kale Walnut Pesto - Surprisingly creamy, deliciously healthy

Penne Pasta With Cauliflower & Walnut Kale Pesto

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Entree
  • Method: Stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian


Penne Pasta with Cauliflower and Walnut Kale Pesto – Surprisingly creamy, deliciously healthy


  • 1 1/2 lbs (24oz) cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 lb organic whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2025 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Chopped parsley, lemon zest and grated cashews or vegan parm for garnish (optional)


  1. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower florets and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Add kale to the boiling water in the last 30 seconds of cooking. Drain well
  2. In the meantime, start cooking the pasta according to the directions on the package, leaving it slightly al dente. Once the pasta is cooked, leave it in the water
  3. While the pasta cooks, combine cooked cauliflower, kale, basil, walnuts, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon, olive oil and salt. Pulse until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove pasta from the water and add to the pesto sauce ( we do this rather than draining the pasta completely because we want some of the pasta water to mix with the pesto). Toss well so the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately, garnish with chopped parsley, lemon zest and cashews or vegan parm.


The sauce can be prepared ahead of time. Just make sure to serve it with warm, freshly made pasta


  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
  • Calories: 389
  • Sugar: 4.7
  • Sodium: 237
  • Fat: 11.3
  • Saturated Fat: 1.4
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 64
  • Fiber: 10.5
  • Protein: 15.2
  • Cholesterol: 0