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Kale Mushroom Pasta

Kale mushroom pasta is a quick and easy weeknight meal that is perfect for any time of year. This balsamic mushroom kale pasta is light and creamy and the ultimate comfort food and ready in 15 minutes. This healthy recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free and can be made low carb.

Skillet filled with balsamic kale mushroom pasta with wooden spoon on side.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Quick and easy to make – kale mushroom pasta is ready in about 15 minutes. The veggies sauté while the water comes up to a boil and the pasta cooks. The creamy balsamic sauce comes together in just a minute.
  • Simple ingredients – this balsamic mushroom kale pasta is made with ingredients you can find in any grocery store. This recipe is very versatile too and can be made with many different vegetables.
  • Great way to get in more veggies – this healthy veggie filled pasta is a great way to get in more vegetables with lots of flavor.
Ingredients to make kale mushroom pasta in ramekins.
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Ingredients

  • Onions and garlic – these aromatic vegetables are the base of the dish and help to really bring a depth of flavor. If you don’t have them on hand, you can omit them and the dish will still be good, but I highly recommend adding them if you have them on hand.
  • Mushrooms – use your favorite mushroom here. You can certainly use white button mushrooms but for this dish I love cremini (baby portobello mushrooms) since they have a slightly richer, bolder flavor.
  • Kale – kale wilts down and adds another vegetable to this dish and also pairs perfectly with the almond butter balsamic sauce. You can also use spinach, but I find that the spinach really wilts down into almost nothing where the kale is a little more robust and doesn’t completely disappear when wilted down.
  • Pasta – use your favorite pasta for this dish. Because this is a vegan meal without any added protein, I prefer to use chickpea pasta or lentil-based pasta as those add protein and fiber to the dish and also help to keep it gluten free and vegan. Note: The lentil and chickpea pasta come in 8 ounce boxes so if you are using a traditional pasta, you will only want to use half a box.
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes – these small tomatoes help to add a pop of color and are easy to cut in half to add to the dish. You can also use larger tomatoes, cut into cubes but I just love how easy these are to slice in half and throw in the pasta at the end.

Balsamic sauce

  • Almond butter – almond butter helps to create a creamy sauce without any dairy. It also pairs well with the balsamic vinegar and the kale. Alternatively, you could use tahini or sunbutter for a nut-free version of this recipe.
  • Balsamic vinegar – balsamic vinegar helps to bring acidity to the dish and pairs perfectly with the mushrooms and kale. Tip: Be sure you love your balsamic vinegar as it really is one of the main flavors of this dish.
  • Water – water helps to thin out the sauce. You will also want to reserve some of the cooking liquid from the pasta to thin out the sauce more after cooking.
  • Spices: Salt and garlic powder – these simple spices add flavor to the dish and more umami that helps to deepen the flavors.

How to make kale mushroom pasta

Start by brining a large pot of water to a boil.

While the water is being brought to a boil, chop all the vegetables. Finely chop the onions and garlic, put them aside. Slice the mushrooms and destem and chop the kale. Cut the tomatoes in half and put them to the side.

Onions, garlic, mushrooms, kale and tomatoes chopped on a black and white cutting board.

Make the creamy balsamic sauce by combining the almond butter, balsamic vinegar, water, salt, and garlic powder in a bowl.

Before and after stirring the creamy balsamic sauce in white bowl.

If the water is boiling at this point, add a large pinch of salt and add the pasta, otherwise once the water is boiling during the steps below, add the pasta. Cook for 1 minute less than the box indicates for most gluten free pasta, especially chickpea pasta.

Once all the veggies have been chopped, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, spray it with olive oil or avocado oil and add the onions, cook 3 minutes.

Sauteed onions and garlic in a skillet.

After 3 minutes, add the garlic and cook 1-2 more minutes.

Push the onions and garlic to the side and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook 5 minutes. After 3-4 minutes, you can stir in the onions and garlic with the mushrooms.

Sliced mushrooms in a skillet with sauteed onions.

Once the mushrooms have given off most of their liquid (may take up to 7 minutes), add the chopped kale and stir, turn off the heat.

Chopped kale added to a skillet with sauteed mushrooms.

When the pasta is done cooking, use a measuring cup or ladle and reserve about ½ cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.

Add the drained pasta directly to the skillet with the veggies and add the creamy balsamic sauce and chopped tomatoes. Stir well.

Pasta in a mesh strainer over the skillet.

Check the consistency of the sauce/pasta and if needed add 1-2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid at a time to the skillet, stirring well once added to fully incorporate.

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Top tips

  • Be sure to chop all the vegetables before you start cooking so that nothing burns (usually I do this while the water is coming up to a boil).
  • As you are adding more veggies to the sauté pan, move whatever is in the pan already to the side to allow the next layer of flavor to cook. This helps ensure the mushrooms cook down and aren’t waterlogged. When you add the kale you don’t have to push things to the side, you can simply add the kale and start stirring, the heat from the pan will help it wilt quickly.
  • This recipe is written with chickpea or lentil pasta, which comes in 8 oz containers (where regular pasta typically comes in 16 oz. containers). This means that you will only need half a box for regular pasta or you can double the veggies/sauce. I like to use chickpea or lentil pasta when it’s a vegan recipe to increase the protein and fiber to make it more filling. You will be surprised how filling the legume-based pastas are.
  • To help ensure the sauce coats the pasta well, I recommend you reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining as this will easily coat the pasta and ensure your sauce is the perfect consistency.
  • If you are using chickpea-based pasta, I always recommend cooking the pasta 1 minute less than the minimum time on the box. I find it gets too mushy otherwise. This is also true with many of the gluten free pastas that I have tried. Lentil based pasta is the only gluten free pasta that I cook to the time recommended on the box.
Grey bowl filled with kale mushroom pasta, balsamic vinegar in background.

Other flavors you can add

  • Spice: crushed red pepper flakes
  • Freshness: Add fresh basil or pesto to add a freshness to the dish
  • Other flavors: you can add sundried tomatoes (in oil) is best or kalamata olives or capers as a way to add more flavor. You can also add dried herbs like italian seasoning, dried thyme or herbs de provence.

Other veggies you could use or add

What to serve along side kale mushroom pasta

This simple balsamic mushroom kale pasta is very filling on its own but could be served with salad, soup or appetizers to make it a full meal, especially if you are entertaining. Here are some great recommendations on what you can serve along side of this pasta dish

White plate filled with kale mushroom pasta with fork on side of the plate.

Common questions

How to destem kale

  • Start by tearing away about 1-2 inches of the kale leaf from the bottom of the stem so the stem is free from the leaf.
  • Wrap your pointer finger around the kale stem and pull down from the bottom of the stem towards the top of the leaf. The kale leaf will come off the stem in one piece.
  • Once the stem is removed, you can easily chop the kale.
Steps on how to destem kale.

What is the best shape pasta to use

  • Penne
  • Rigatoni
  • Farfalle
  • Bowtie pasta
  • Elbow
  • Shells

How to add more protein

An easy way to add more protein to this recipe is to use a lentil or chickpea based pasta. This will help keep this vegan and a simple meatless meal ready in 20 minutes. Some other additions include:

How to make this kale mushroom pasta lower in carbs

To make this balsamic mushroom pasta lower in carbs, replace the pasta with:

Wooden spoon in a skillet filled with balsamic kale mushroom pasta.

Storing leftovers

  • Fridge: Store leftover kale mushroom pasta in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Leftover pasta can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months, however I don’t recommend freezing the leftover mushroom pasta since the mushrooms will get waterlogged when frozen.

Reheating leftovers

Reheat leftover pasta in a skillet over medium low heat with a few extra tablespoons of water or cook on high in the microwave for 1:30-2 minutes until warmed through.

Substitutions

  • Onions and garlic – if you don’t have onions and garlic on hand, you can also use shallots in place of both. You can simply omit the onions or garlic if you don’t have them on hand.
  • Mushrooms, kale and tomatoes – see the “other vegetables you can use/add” section above.
  • Almond butter – you can also use tahini or sunbutter in place of almond butter to make this nut free. Be sure the sunbutter doesn’t have any added sugar or the sauce may be a bit sweet.
  • Balsamic vinegar – balsamic vinegar is really the star of this sauce, and pairs so well with the mushrooms. You can use lemon juice in place of the balsamic vinegar if needed.
  • Spices – you can use dried thyme (1 teaspoon) in place of the italian seasoning for a change of flavor. You can also use herbs de provence or make your own italian seasoning if you don’t have any on hand. If you don’t have garlic powder on hand, you can also use onion powder or simply omit it.

If you love this recipe, you should try

Zucchini Mushroom Pasta

Mushroom Walnut Stuffed Zucchini

Pesto Mushroom Pasta

Pesto Tuna Pasta

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Plate filled with mushroom kale pasta with fork on the plate.

Kale Mushroom Pasta

Kale mushroom pasta is quick and easy and so simple to make. This healthy pasta recipe is ready in 15 minutes and is vegan, gluten free and dairy free. The creamy balsamic sauce is full of flavor and will quickly become a family favorite.
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: balsamic mushrrom pasta, kale mushroom pasta
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch lacitino kale, destemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz chickpea or lentil pasta

Creamy Balsamic Sauce

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • While the water is coming up to a boil, chop the onions, garlic, slice the mushrooms, destem and chop the kale and cut the tomatoes in half.
  • In a bowl combine the creamy balsamic sauce ingredients in a bowl. Stir well to combine.
  • When the water comes up to a boil, add the pasta to the pot. For chickpea pasta, cook the pasta one minute less than indicated on the box.
  • Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is preheated spray with olive oil or avocado oil and add the chopped onion. Cook 3 minutes.
  • After 3 minutes, add the garlic to the saute pan and cook 1 minute.
  • Push the onions and garlic to the side and add the sliced mushrooms. Cook 5-7 minutes. After 5 minutes, you can stir in the onions and garlic.
  • Sprinkle the mushrooms with salt, add chopped kale and stir well. Turn off the heat and allow the kale to wilt.
  • Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
  • Drain the pasta and add it directly to the skillet with the veggies. Pour the balsamic sauce over top and add the sliced tomatoes. Stir well.

Notes

Top tips
  • Be sure to chop all the vegetables before you start cooking so that nothing burns (usually I do this while the water is coming up to a boil).
  • As you are adding more veggies to the sauté pan, move whatever is in the pan already to the side to allow the next layer of flavor to cook. This helps ensure the mushrooms cook down and aren’t waterlogged. When you add the kale you don’t have to push things to the side, you can simply add the kale and start stirring, the heat from the pan will help it wilt quickly.
  • This recipe is written with chickpea or lentil pasta, which comes in 8 oz containers (where regular pasta typically comes in 16 oz. containers). This means that you will only need half a box for regular pasta or you can double the veggies/sauce. I like to use chickpea or lentil pasta when it’s a vegan recipe to increase the protein and fiber to make it more filling. You will be surprised how filling the legume-based pastas are.
  • To help ensure the sauce coats the pasta well, I recommend you reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water before draining as this will easily coat the pasta and ensure your sauce is the perfect consistency.
  • If you are using chickpea-based pasta, I always recommend cooking the pasta 1 minute less than the minimum time on the box. I find it gets too mushy otherwise. This is also true with many of the gluten free pastas that I have tried. Lentil based pasta is the only gluten free pasta that I cook to the time recommended on the box.
Storing leftovers
  • Fridge: Store leftover kale mushroom pasta in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezer: Leftover pasta can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months, however I don’t recommend freezing the leftover mushroom pasta since the mushrooms will get waterlogged when frozen.
Reheating leftovers
Reheat leftover pasta in a skillet over medium low heat with a few extra tablespoons of water or cook on high in the microwave for 1:30 -2 minutes until warmed through.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
336
Fat
 
11
g
Carbohydrates
 
47
g
Fiber
 
13
g
Sugar
 
12
g
Protein
 
21
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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