Super Greens Pesto Pasta

Pasta, but make it 2 of your 5-a-day!

This tasty pesto is reminiscent of the traditional pesto all genovese despite not having an ounce of basil in it. Instead, it’s packed with lots of spinach and cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), which lend it a beautifully rich green hue. I can’t think of a better way of eating loads of greens than blitzed up into a tasty pesto and tossed with some pasta and broccoli!

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Pasta, Vegetarian


For the super greens pesto:
  • 200 g cavolo nero (Tuscan kale), ribs and stems removed
  • 200 g baby spinach
  • 50 g untoasted, unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 50 g untoasted pine nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 125 g grana padano or parmigiano reggiano
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • ½ lemon, juice or more, to taste
For the pasta:
  • 500 g dried pasta
  • 450 g broccoli florets


  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add a generous amount of sea salt (the water should be sea-level salty).
  2. Blanch the cavolo nero and baby spinach in the salted water until vibrant green and slightly wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in generously salted water according to package instructions.
  4. In a separate pot, boil or steam your broccoli until cooked to your liking – I like mine crisp so I only boil it for 1 to 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  5. Once cooled, squeeze the excess water out of the kale and spinach. You can either use your hands or wring them out in a cloth. Set aside.
  6. Using a high-powered blender or food processor, blitz together the pistachios, pine nuts garlic, olive oil and water until smooth.
  7. Add the grana padano, lemon zest and cooled kale and spinach and blend until smooth. If necessary, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to loosen.
  8. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl. Add the lemon juice and season with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste.
  9. Using a slotted spoon or spider (if using short pasta) or tongs (if using long pasta), transfer the cooked pasta to the bowl of pesto. Add the broccoli and a splash of the pasta cooking water and toss until the pesto nicely coats the pasta. Serve and enjoy!


You can use other types of kale – the colour won’t be the same, but it’ll still taste great!

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Karina Silveira
11 months ago

Not a fan. I did have fun cooking it though! 🙂

10 months ago

I’m sorry it wasn’t to your taste, but I’m glad you enjoyed the process 🙂