Double-Duty Kale Pesto Pasta
In this two-way take on a classic pesto pasta, we snuck in a bunch of kale to up the nutrition ante. Kids get a yummy gluten-free pesto pasta with crudités and mom/dad gets a veggie-packed pasta salad that any coworker would envy.
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup packed curly green kale leaves (about ½ bunch)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
8 ounces gluten free pasta (we like the chickpea rotini shape)
¼ cup roughly chopped black olives
2 tablespoons feta cheese, optional
for the pesto:
1 cup very tightly packed curly green kale leaves (about ½ bunch)
1 cup basil, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 small garlic clove
1/3 cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and put a large pot of salted water on the stovetop to boil.
2. While the oven heats up, make your pesto. De-rib, wash, and dry the entire bunch of kale, reserving half for the “grown up” pasta salad.
3. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender, blitz together 1 packed cup of roughly torn kale leaves with the next 6 ingredients until smooth. Stir in grated parmesan cheese, and set aside.
4. Place 1 cup of the cherry tomatoes and half of the red bell pepper on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the tomatoes are blistered and the pepper is just-tender.
5. Cut the other half of the red pepper into strips and set aside.
6. When the water is boiling, cook your pasta according to the package directions; drain and let cool slightly.
FOR THE GROWN-UP:
1. Measure out 1 tightly-packed cup of the cleaned kale leaves and finely slice them. Toss in a large bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the lemon juice, and a large pinch of salt.
2. Cut the roasted bell pepper half into a large dice and add to the bowl of kale along with the roasted tomatoes, olives, feta (if using), and half of the cooked pasta.
3. Toss with about 1/3 of the pesto and taste for seasoning.
FOR THE KID:
1. Toss the other half of the cooked pasta with 1/3 of the pesto. Transfer to a tiffin (or other small container) and serve with raw cherry tomatoes and sliced raw pepper on the side.
2. Add a piece of fruit and a frozen yogurt pack or string cheese.
Originally featured in Kids Lunches That Adults Can Get in On