Pasta with Kale Pesto and Zucchini (or Potatoes)

By the Gracious Vegan

This is an easy dish that will get more rave reviews than the level of effort suggests it should. The secret is the lemony-briny flavors in the kale pesto. The pasta and zucchini serve as an excellent base, although you could go all-pasta, all-zucchini, pasta-and-potatoes, or other bases that I haven't thought of. Serves 4.

 Photo by  Jules on flickr

If using potatoes instead of zucchini, cover the potatoes with cold water and bring them to a boil. Simmer about 25 minutes or until just tender.

  • 4 Yukon Gold or other boiling potatoes (not russet) (about 1 pound)

Then drain, peel, and coarsely chop the potatoes and set aside.

Start the pasta water boiling.

Make kale pesto by placing garlic in a food processor and mincing it.

  • 3 large or 4 small cloves of garlic, peeled

Add these and pulse until all the ingredients are ground up into each other.

  • 4 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons salt-brined capers, rinsed
  • 3/8 cup tablespoons blanched almonds (whole or slivered)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Then add the olive oil and pulse until you reach a good pesto consistency. Set aside.

  • 3/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

Cook and drain the pasta as directed on package. Add zucchini to the pasta pot during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

  • 8 ounces dry pasta of your choice (chunky or long)
  • 3 small or 2 medium zucchini, diced

Toss pasta and zucchini (or the roughly chopped potatoes) with about half of the pesto at first; see if you need more. 

Timing: 25-45 minutes, depending if you use potatoes (longer) or zucchini (shorter)

Nutrition: Mostly unprocessed ingredients (the oil is the main culprit)

Gluten-free if gluten-free pasta used

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