Winter Penne Pasta

An inherited produce box packed with greens inspired this simple, one-pot winter penne pasta with a sauce made from a full bunch of kale, shallots, garlic, and goat cheese.

Winter Penne Pasta

This winter penne pasta was inspired by the contents of a produce box. I seem to inherit CSA boxes. Friends and neighbors forget to put holds on their subscriptions before leaving town, and sure enough, they end up in my kitchen. When I was a kid there was a house that was always happy to take in stray animals, I've become the equivalent for CSA boxes. And I have to say, it's pretty great.

penne pasta made with winter greens like kale and goat cheese on a floral plate

That said, cooking through a box is always a challenge of sorts. I mean, you want to cook your way through it before things start to go bad, sad or wilted. This always forces me to adapt and try out ideas I might not have considered otherwise. You also have the element of surprise that comes along with each box because you never know exactly what will be inside each one. Although, there is one thing I do know. The box, whichever farm it comes from, usually includes lots and lots of greens - kale, spinach, lettuce, chard, arugula. If I’m lucky, all of the above.

Winter Penne Pasta: Inspiration

Tonights box? A quick glance told me I would need to put a dent in the greens right away. That was the tone setter. Everything else I grabbed from staples in nearby cupboards and the refrigerator. It all came together into this simple, one-pot, winter penne pasta. The sauce is made from one bunch of kale, shallots, garlic, and goat cheese blended.  It creates a vibrant green sauce to coat the penne, offering a nice alternative to tomato sauce, mushroom ragù, or pesto.

green sauce in food processor to pour over penne pasta

Winter Penne Pasta: Variations

You might tweak it with a different cheese - Parmesan or pecorino, for example. Or even ricotta. You could top it with a some chopped black olives or toasted nuts. I kept it simple here. You can reheat any leftovers the next day, with a splash of water. The pasta holds up nicely. Penne is a nice shape to hold the green sauce, but a second favorite choice is actually a version with gnocchi in place of the pasta.

I know a lot of you subscribe to CSAs and I'd love to hear your favorite ways to use up your greens. I have a bunch of go-to green-intensive recipes I rely on, but if you're doing something unique or unexpected with them on your end please share. I suspect Melissa Clark's kale salad will continue to be in high rotation around here all winter. I keep making it, in part because unlike other green salads that go south shortly after being dressed, this kale salad likes to party. It's delicious, and just gets better as it sits around, fully dressed, waiting for people to notice it. Other favorites? You can't go wrong with a hefty pot of Ribollita - I trade off between that and various takes on this lentil soup to which I add lots of chopped kale.

penne pasta made with winter greens like kale and goat cheese on a floral plate

More Pasta Recipes

More Kale Recipes

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Winter Penne Pasta

5 from 2 votes

I used penne here for the past element, but you can substitute whatever pasta you enjoy! Spinach can be substituted for the kale if you like as well.

  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 small shallots, peeled
  • 1 small bunch of kale - 1/2 lb / 8 oz, stalks removed, washed well
  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup / 2 oz goat cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 tablespoons+ hot pasta water
  • fine grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh lemon juice - optional
  • 12 oz / 340 g dried penne pasta
  • a few sprigs fresh thyme (with pretty flowers even better)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the boiling water generously, and add the garlic and shallots. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stir in the kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don't overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the greens, garlic, and shallots from the water.
  2. Use a food processor to puree the ingredients along with the olive oil and goat cheese. Add a couple tablespoons of hot pasta water if needed to thin things out. Season with a touch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Taste. Depending on your goat cheese, you might need a little extra acidic oomph if your sauce is a bit flat. If so, add fresh lemon juice a bit at a time until you're happy with it the sauce. Set aside.
  3. Reheat the pot of water and boil the pasta per package instructions. Drain and toss immediately with the green sauce. Serve topped with a few pinches of fresh thyme, and more crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4-6.

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating


Hi Heidi,
So glad you gave us this recipe. I have a ton of spinach sitting around and no idea what to do with it. I’ll be making this dish tonight!
I also love that you can search by ingredient on your site.

Erin from WHERE

Found your website a few days ago… LOVE IT!
Just made this… yum! I didn’t have shallots so I improvised but next time I will try to use the real deal. I’ll also add something else (not sure what yet) to make it more of a meal… Super easy, super healthy dish… and quick too! Thanks!


wow! this has quickly become a favorite recipe, and one that opens the door to lots of variations. working now to prepare a few batches with kale from our last csa box to freeze for a cold night.


This is a fantastic recipe. I am going to be trying it with some homegrown arugula next. The spice of the arugula should be interesting.


My kind of recipe…easy and quick!


Finally, an issue that I am passionate about. I have looked for information of this caliber for the last several hours. Your site is greatly appreciated.

laboratory technician

I added toasted walnuts and subbed in raw cashew, lemon, salt, and ground pepper for the goat cheese, to make this vegan. It was so creamy, cheesy, savory…amazing!


This was great! Next time I am going to add toasted walnuts to the food processor. I also wonder about adding white beans instead of the cheese for a vegan version. Just a thought.
LOVE all the recipes I find here!


Hey Heidi,
Made this tonight. I used an onion I had around instead of shallots though. It was great! Loved the flavor and texture. Served it on quinoa pasta and it was awesome. Thanks!


Made this tonight exactly how you suggested and my husband and I really enjoyed it. It was perfect with a side of chicken and pine nuts. I needed to use up some leftover kale and it was nice to use it in something that tastes so flavorful. I will make it again most definitely. THANK YOU!!

kate mcgill

This is a wonderful site and I specially loved the Winter Pasta receipe… I am planning to make it for dinner tonight.
I have a little problem, I live in India and you dont get Kale here in this form. It is grown here very differently. Can you tell me if these is substitute for it? Also this would be my first attempt in my new kitchen 🙂 Thanks
HS: Shagun, try substituting another hearty green you like. Or spinach.


Mmm! I’m making this tonight – I grow my own Tuscan Kale and have it in abundance at the moment. I like to make a hearty tomato garlic base soup with plenty of different beans and good handfuls of the kale. Lemon juice, olive oil and parmesan is added at the table and crusty Italian bread to dip – yum.


Could I substitute chard for kale? I have loads of chard I’ve been trying to use up.
HS: Hi Missy, yes, you can absolutely substitute chard if you like.


Just made this as a not-so-winter pasta! Used tortellini and roasted tomatoes, added the sauce, then chilled for a pasta salad. AMAZING! Great dish!

Anna Minnis

I made this tonight with spicy smoky goat cheese, 2 tbsp white miso paste, and siracha. Be sure to drain the kale very well, I wasn’t careful and my sauce was a little watery. Paired with quinoa pasta. It was very good.
It’s a similar recipe to one I make all the time with broccoli and Parmesan cheese.


This looks hearty and delicious!

laura trevey

Holy crap, I am now just visiting your website today, and lo and behold, I just made this very dish on Sunday for my work lunch! It’s so delicious. I did a few things differently: I only blanched the kale, and did so for about ten minutes. It was still quite firm, though. Then I didn’t have any shallots, so I just used the garlic, sea salt, olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Oh yes, and ground toasted walnuts. I also added a dash of white pepper along with the black. But what took the sauce to another level were the cheeses. I used an aged goat cheese similar in texture to Parmigiano, and I also had a leftover chunk of Landaff. It really made the dish come together. I would absolutely make this again with a different green to explore the different textures.


Made this tonight. I love lemon juice, so I gave the sauce a couple of good squeezes even without tasting first. This is really good. Kale is so good for you, I’m always looking for a tasty way to use it. Great recipe.


I drink green smoothies nearly every day. When I have kale I usually throw some in my smoothie with my spinach and fruit. Yummy! It’s great for your digestion.
@ Gelsomina- you should be able to freeze the sauce without any problem. Pestos keep
really well in the fridge or freezer.


My absolute favorite way to use up hearty greens is in some version — depending on what I have on hand — of Alice Waters’ polenta torta from The Art of Simple Food. The torta is a layered affair: slow-cooked polenta, tomato sauce, grated cheese, sauteed greens. Repeat. Finish with a final layer of polenta and pop into the oven until golden brown and bubbling.


I found out a couple years ago I love kale. I live alone, and like to freeze things b/c I can’t eat it all fast enough.
Do you suppose I can freeze this sauce, or will it change the texture?
Thank you,


This is a great recipe for pasta. I wanted to check, if Kale is not readily available, what other Leafy veggie can I substitute it with?
Lady from India.


Hi Heidi,
Thank you for this delicious recipe. I put it over some ricotta gnocchi, and it was absolutely delicious. Even more so when I had the leftovers cold from the fridge as a midnight snack.


Thank you Heidi – this recipe is absolutely delicious – particulary over a soba noodle, with garlic bread and or a seafood ravioli. I used Cypress Grove Chevre with lavender and Fennel Pollen from Arcata which made it all the better! Thanks again! Beth

Beth Kenerson

This recipe is SOOO GOOD! I used kale, and watercress and spinach I had and it is ( I have to say again) so good! I did not have time to go buy goat cheese, so I used feta, which I really like.
Thank you for the recipe…


Gr8 way to use up greens, Heidi!! I am always enthusiastic about buying them, but cleaning etc. is a chore and I always end up throwing some away ‘coz I dont get to them in time.
I love cooking rice in pureed spinach, kind of similar to the ‘sauce’ you have here. The rice cooks in this ‘sauce’ and takes on all the flavours!


I think I’ve been following your blog for about 2 years now and I just wanted to THANK YOU!! I have not been disappointed by a single recipe! I bought Super Natural Cooking and have sent a copy to many many people for gifts. So happy to have you as a cooking resource!
I tried this pasta last night and I’m SO impressed by it. Easy. Delicious. Something I’ll DEFINITELY do again. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!
HS: Thanks Becca, and I’m glad you enjoyed the pasta too.


Thanks to you and your wonderful blog, I LOVE kale. My family ( husband and two pre-teen daughters) were very hesitant to jump on the kale band wagon, but thanks to Ribolita and this recipe, they are slowly converting. Love, love, love it! Thanks!
HS: Love getting notes like this!


Looks absolutely delicious. Thinking of conjuring this up for an addition to my Thanksgiving banquet.


While a lot of our CSA greens end up in soups and pasta dishes, I also like to stir fry them with Asian flavors to serve with rice or noodles. I find that mustard greens have a particular affinity for peanuts, and go well in brothy concotions with other mild or spicy greens.

Anne Marie

I have been eating a lot of greens with garlic or shallots lately, steamed or sauteed, and I’ve been getting a little tired of it, this recipe is just what I’ve been looking for! Thank you!

Erica Newhouse

This probably isn’t new news to anyone who follows your site, but my household absolutely loves the Palak Daal you posted this past January. We substitute in any and all combinations of greens that come in our CSA box in lieu of the spinach the recipe calls for. It’s always fantastic!


Sounds delicious and I love the way you make healthy eating gooooood! You should enter some recipes in the Recipes for Healthy Kids Challenge:
“Let’s Move!, in association with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is challenging school nutrition professionals, chefs, students, parents and interested community members to create tasty, healthy, exciting new recipes for inclusion on school lunch menus across the country.”
Lord knows our school lunch programs could use more recipes like yours!


I’ll try this tonight. Thank you!


This recipe actually has me totally looking forward to winter! I’m just imagining myself snuggled on the couch with a big bowl of this and a glass of red wine (in sweatpants obvi!). Yay!


I just made this recipe and it is delicious! I did make one substitution – leeks in place of shallots. This was only b/c I needed to use the leeks before they went bad.


Beautiful. Love the idea of working with what you have. Almost like a kale pesto…

Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes

Ok, we got to try this last night, it was delicious! I used half a white/sweet onion instead of shallots, and my blender couldn’t quite chop the kale so tiny, but it was really good!

Nicole W

When faced with a mountain of extra greens, I make Moosewood’s Greens and Sun dried Tomato strudel recipe (epicurious) or a variant thereof. Wrapped tightly and stored in the freezer it makes a great “instant” lunch entree or dinner appetizer.

Dana Dolan

ooo – yum love pesto mixed through pasta. Goats cheese would give that delicious tang too!

jas@ gluten free scallywag

I like CSAs, although I would love to get leftover CSAs but it has not happened just because not many I know are in to CSA.
I love this winter pasta recipe with Kale, it looks so yummy!

Pam @ Kitchen Cookware Set

I roast a sweet potato and saute the kale or greens with garlic and chili flake. The sweet of the sweet potato and the bitter of the greens are great together. Plus, it is an antioxident punch for dreary winter days.


This recipe looks great! 2 things: Mrs. Debbie’s green bags REALLY help extend the life of my fresh produce. They are totally worth the $10. I love to saute my greens with a little sesame oil or bacon fat, and lacto-fermented jot peppers. Top with soft-boiled eggs, sea salt, and fresh-cracked pepper.


Love this recipe! Looking forward to making it VERY soon!!

What Happens After Five

We don’t subscribe to a CSA, but we eat lots of greens, too. Adding any kind of green, chopped, into a big pot of minestrone is a favorite of ours in the wintertime. The kids also love “Dad’s world-famous spinach” which is just spinach sauteed with red onion or garlic (or both!) in olive oil with salt and pepper. Simple but satisfying,, and we’ve done that with kale, collard greens, chard and chicory (from the garden) too.
Can’t wait to try this take on pasta. I’ll have to substitute the cheese, though, since the kids and hubby aren’t big fans of goat cheese.

Annie-Savor This Moment

it seems to me that the best thing to do is make pesto! I don’t have the luxury (or the stress, depending on how you look at it) to get more than my own CSA share, so i usually go through all of it without having to make the “use up” recipes.
my problem is with the veggies i hate (brussels sprouts don’t taste good to me no matter how much bacon or cheese get added), and i have to put them on someone else ;).

heather @ chiknpastry

made this tonight and it was a hit with my family! i threw in the leaves off of a few springs of fresh oregano and a 1/2 cup of cooked butternut squash into the food pros. with everything else! delish!


I like to make “chips” with greens. I’ve tried using kale and collards so far, but I have some bok choy from my CSA box I will either make into chips or use in a miso soup. Making chips is an easy way to use a lot of greens quickly because you can eat them as a snack. I’ve eaten a bunch of kale in one day in the form of chips. Yum!

Amy @ People's Gourmet

Thank you for this new way to use greens!
I did it with beet greens and it turned the pasta a delightful pink, while the “pesto” stayed green. How fun!


I used a little less garlic, no shallots (didn’t have them) and subbed spinach for kale. It was a gorgeous green and so tasty. I couldn’t get enough of the green so I added steamed broccoli and tossed with angel hair. Yum. Also a good way to get others to eat their greens!
HS: LOVE this idea Laura. Maybe with a few toasted walnuts? I’m all over this.


Mmm mmm mmm. I wonder if there’s a brand of whole wheat pasta that is preferred? I’ve been buying the store brand and it’s good, but any recommendations are welcome.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance

Goat cheese always makes me happy. I love the creamy, tangy flavor of goat cheese, but I also love a salty, crumbled feta.

Katie at Healthy Pots and Pans

I second the endorsement of Molly’s boiled kale. Sounds awful. Is amazing!


We made this on Sat. It was delicious! My 5 yr old twins loved it.


Chard is delicious chopped and sautéed with other veggies then used as a layer in lasagna. Arugula works OK too, but it makes the dish bitter rather than sweet.
Since we’re in CA and it was 95 degrees last week, we’re still making smoothies here. That’s the best way, I think, to use up a big handful of spinach. Just blend it with the liquid first until very fine, and you’re set!

Nicole W

Chard pesto is a personal favorite. I make a huge batch and freeze it in ice cube trays, so I can easily use as much as I need later.
While I have several kale salads I like, my go-to kale action is to saute it with oil and balsamic vinegar. I eat it this way with poached eggs on top, in pasta salads, in quesadillas, or just as is. I never tire of it.
My favorite use for beet greens is in a quiche with feta and cheddar. It beats any other green in this venue for flavor.

Michelle in Oregon

Excellent site! Thanks for this recipe … I recently started doing variations on “getting a great amount of your greens” by way of creating sauces (and freezing them). I love homemade treat of pasta with spinach and feta! I also recently made a simple spelt bread loaf which I’m committed to taking from ‘edible’ to ‘enjoyable’ … really enjoy your layout and recipes. Very inspiring, thanks.


There’s a similar recipe in Moosewood Cooks at Home that I’ve made which uses ricotta instead of goat cheese. Really yummy! Just bought some kale today…

Jessica @ bake me away!

I would never think to use the kale in a pasta sauce. We love when we get kale in our CSA box – kale chips! But we’ll definitely try this recipe – thanks for a great idea!


This winter pasta recipe is a dream! My parent’s vegetable garden is overflowing with spinach & kale (i’m v jealous!!), so i will definitely be making this. Just beautiful, thank you.
Heidi xo

Heidi - apples under my bed

Looks great! I love goat cheese with dark greens.


Using up cooking greens is never an issue for me (using up five giant bags of lettuce that I got this week is daunting, on the other hand). Both, my husband and I love kale, but I feel that it needs to be blanched for about 3 minutes before it is sauteed or added to pasta — at least the kale that I have encountered in my CSA box is way too leathery to just saute w/out blanching (or, maybe I should have just left it to saute longer than I did?) Anyway, my #1 use of kale is your harissa spaghettini recipe — I think it’s my favorite pasta of all times, and it tastes good as leftovers as well. If I am interested in a side dish, rather than a one-pot meal, I often omit the pasta in this recipe altogether and just increase the amount of kale. I use jar Moulin Mahjoub Organic Traditional Harissa Spread and put about 2 heaping tea spoons per recipe of the pasta, as it might be spicier than the harissa that’s in the original recipe.


I like to look at certain recipes to see how ingredients are combined – and maybe I can use a similar combination of elements in a totally different dish. In this one it’s the idea of kale, goat cheese and lemon. Very piquant and might be the start of a nice holiday ball with pine nuts and roasted garlic. It’s a start! *smile*

Denise Michaels - Adventurous Foodie

This is a terrific sounding recipe that I will definitely try. Have you seen the latest cookbook from Andrea Chesman? I just reviewed it up here in Canada and would highly recommend it to anyone. It has 30 recipes in it which use kale. She also introduced me to a vegetable I’d never heard of before–salsify. The book is titled Recipes from the Root Cellar.
HS: Hi Betty, It is top of my list of cookbooks to buy. Andrea actually copy-edited Super Natural Every Day – thank you Andrea! She is one of my grammar guardian angels. Definitely looking forward to spending time with her book this winter – 30 recipes w/ kale? Excellent.

Betty Kowall

Just a comment on freezing kale. I’ve frozen kale that was cut into ribbons as Ollie does above. It’s a great solution if you have more fresh kale than you can use. In my experience, I’ve found that it becomes a little leathery when frozen. I ended up chopping the frozen kale finer in order to add it to recipes. Then you get the taste and goodness and you don’t notice the texture.
Another fantastic recipe for kale for non-vegetarians (we cook both ways in our house) is from Deborah Krasner’s The Flavors of Olive Oil cookbook: ‘Whole wheat gobbetti with red pepper, poultry sausage with sun-dried tomatoes and kale’. (Red bell pepper, sun-dried tomato poultry sausage, olive oil, garlic, red onion, kale, whole wheat gobbetti pasta, potato and parmesan.)


Just made this with Pecorino cheese. Loved the strong kale flavor and the simplicity of the recipe!

tiina { sparkling ink }

Have you tried Zuni Cafe’s boiled kale? SO delicious, and great on cold nights.


What a wonderful way to eat all of these glorious greens!! And so easy to prepare too!

Nourished Living

A favorite recipe for a large bunch of chard, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey: saute chopped onion in 3 T. of butter, add in frozen baby lima beans, chopped chard and 1/4-1/2 c. chopped fresh dill and 1/4 c. water and cook until everything is tender, about 15-20 min. It sounds a little odd, but it’s delicious! We eat it over brown rice.


i just made this as well and also used pecorino, as well as the goat cheese. i added a splash of red wine vinegar instead of lemon. delish!


I made this for dinner last night, so yummy. The leftovers were even better.
And my 2 year old daughter loved it too. Thanks so much.


We just picked up our own CSA box today, and it included no fewer than four (!) separate huge batches of greens (turnip, kale, arugula, and more kale).
I couldn’t be happier.
Some will land in a Portugese potato and kale soup, which should warm up one of our sub-zero nights.
More will end up braised with lots of garlic and olive oil, then warmed with chickpeas and a good hit of aleppo. All the aforementioned will be tossed with hot pasta, plus a little of its cooking water and plenty of pecorino. Mmmm…


I love this post because my husband actually talked me into canceling our CSA after years and years of being members. He just couldn’t handle another winter of so many green potages, greens with sausage and goat cheese, tarts with sauteed greens. You know the drill.
This sauce is really lovely and I’m always looking for a way to sneak more bitter greens into my husband’s diet. I’ll definitely try this one.
PS so lovely to finally meet you last night.

Sabrina Modelle

I was just thinking how I really, really want some comforting pasta for dinner, but I also really really need to use up my kale and get my immune system back to normal…. the perfect solution! I’m making this right now.


Thank you, everyone! I took a whole page of notes from your comments for my recipe binder entitled “Kale” :). Heidi, thank you for doing what you do so eloquently.

Nanny Goat

Perfect timing!. In Homer, Alaska today we are getting a foot (at least) of snow and my deck garden still has dinosaur and Russian red kale growing in containers. Saw your kale pasta recipe and decided it was ideal for dinner. I tend to eat mostly vegan, my husband is not vegan, but is gluten-free. So I will make the basic kale sauce for both of us, cook whole wheat pasta for me, rice pasta for him, sprinke tosted nuts on my pasta, and he’ll sprinkle parmesan on his. A wonderful dinner for us both on a snowy evening. THANKS!


Correction – the Okonomiyaki recipe from your *website 🙂


I chop up leftover greens and add them to the Okonomiyaki recipe from your recipe – yum!


I hardly use kale for sauces, but will try from now on.


I never had kale before, but I was so intrigued by this recipe. I made it for dinner tonight (using Parmesan cheese) and it was just fantastic. So simple and so tasty. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks, Heidi!


don’t neglect freezing hardy greens. wash well, spin VERY dry. shred into ribbons or cut into useable sized pieces, then into a good freezer bag; squeeze out extra air.
use directly from the freezer into soups/ stews, casseroles, stir fry, or over roasted.
in new england, putting up ‘extras’ for january and february is VITAL!! there is no such thing as too much in a CSA. 🙂
HS: I have to admit, I has never occurred to me to freeze greens. I’m totally intrigued! Thanks for the great tip Ollie.


kale is a staple in my kitchen, mostly used for sautéing and in salads though. this looks absolutely incredible…cannot wait to try it out!


African Pineapple Peanut Stew from Moosewood Cooks at Home. Basically saute onion and garlic until lightly browned, add one 20 oz can crushed pineapple and 1 or 2more bunch kale, simmer 5 minutes covered. Add 1/2c cup peanut butter, 1 T Tabasco and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. I eat it over couscous. SO GOOD. People at work always ask what smells so good when I bring it in.
Also love the Green Soup with Ginger recipe you’ve posted.


A basic saag paneer can handle a whole lot of different types of greens. Chard paneer, Kale paneer, beet green paneer is quite nice too.


I always appreciate your quantities of an ingredient being listed by weight, it’s hard to estimate two small bunches when I’m picking Kale from the garden! Thank you.


Unfortunately I don’t have as wonderfully forgetful friends as you and hardly ever fresh stuff lying around except for my eleventy seventh basil crop this year 🙂 I have been hankering for some pesto and also had some frozen spinach calling my name and along comes your recipe.
I made a big batch of pesto and kept about 2 tblsp. in the food processor, then added the spinach, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, goat cheese and processed that while the pasta was boiling. Then added some lemon juice and pasta water. I cubed up a nice slice of tomato basil bread and made some croutons.
I am in the middle of eating bowtie pasta with the green goodness, parmesan cheese and croutons.
I think I might need a nap here in a few.
Thanks Heidi 🙂


Ribolita! Our favorite way to use up kale!
Or I saute it in olive oil with onions, garlic, pepper flakes and a hefty splash of balsamic vinegar and serve it over pasta, couscous or farro.


another vote for kale chips!
Heidi, it sounds like you got an Eatwell this week; in 3 years of subscribing, I don’t think I’ve ever had as many greens as came in this week’s box!


You’re making me miss the UK 🙁 I’ve never seen kale in Saudi Arabia. We can get spinach and beetroot greens, and fennel greens too. But in my mind, nothing beats the crunch of kale and that deep green colour.


Sheeesh. You guys are better at this than I am! So many great suggestion – smoothies, flatbreads, soups…. Keep them coming! -h


Our CSA had a great collection of greens recipes on the website at one point, I can’t seem to find it now. My favorite was a very quick african greens which used one bunch of greens.
I think it starts with the usual, oil, onion, garlic, add cumin, coriander, crushed pepper, cook…add chopped tomatoes, fresh or canned, and two tbsp peanut butter, Add your chopped greens, cook covered, finish with some lemon, salt to taste. (may need to add a tbsp of water if seeming too dry)
Wish I could find that link, but this is the basics of it, follow your intuition and it is a nice, saucey, dish. Serve with grain of choice


Hi Heidi,
We eat greens in India in Dozens of different ways – every family has its own take on classical recipes( like the one below) and every state and region has at least 5 ways to cook the same greens, based on locally available ingredients! and the recipes again change based on season. So, i have eaten at least 2 dozen spinach ways in India, depending on the state and season!


This pasta looks delicious! I love pesto, but it’s often hard to find a good vegan recipe. Do you think it would still be good without the feta? I like the idea of using kale though — I always have some in the fridge come winter.


This is a great recipe to make at my clients’ homes – to teach them another way to use powerful greens! thanks!

edie Shaw-Ewald

This is a great recipe to make at my clients’ homes – to teach them another way to use powerful greens! thanks!

edie Shaw-Ewald

Hi! I am a member of our local CSA and I love greens! Broccoli greens, kale, spinach, you name it!
A particular favorite recipe that I have enjoyed since a child is sauteing butter and minced garlic together and then letting the green wilt in the mixture. It’s quite delicious!


Arugula is great, uncooked, on top of margherita pizza as well as stirred into hot ravioli with parmesan cheese and spices, They do it in Italy al the time.

Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

This pasta looks lovely. We grow kale, cavolo nero, silverbeet and rainbow chard in our vege garden so are always on the lookout for new ways to eat them! I like to wilt big handfuls in olive oil or ghee, with chilli flakes, sea salt and plenty of pepper. Serve on toast spread with herb labne. Wish I got given stray CSA boxes! Lucky you 🙂


Yep once I started growing Kale, I broke up with Chard.

Tall Clover

We have a similar organisation here in Australia called Food Connect. I am a big fan – and not just because it gets me out of going to the dreaded supermarket, but also because I know I am doing something good for the farmers and the environment by buying organic.
This is such a vibrant dish – it looks fantastic!


that pasta looks lovely! i love your recipes!

the blissful baker

heidi .. you do a wonderful job presenting healthy whole foods in a way that is mouth watering! this kale pasta looks + sounds epic! i’m so excited to try it .. i love your email updates .. always brightens my day! your website is simply elegant! your doing fabulous things .. mahalo from hawaii!


Wow, what a timely post for me. I was going to make pasta with goat cheese and kale tonight. This gives me a little extra inspiration. It looks delicious and healthy as always.
Love greens. Looking forward to lots of them this winter.
Cheers everyone.


This looks like something I could get into.
If the greens are easy…the kale, chard, spinach, and collards I like them warm with garlic, sesame, soy, and balsamic. Or sauteed with sun-dried tomatoes. But if they are of a bitter or peppery sort–the turnip greens, the mustard, the radish, I stress, and start making odd quantities of pesto, or sneaking them into soups in small bunches.
Someone mentioned lettuce and cold temperatures…lightly wilted lettuce is actually lovely, a winter remedy to what is usually a warm weather friend.

Amanda at Enchanted Fig

That looks fabulous! I just bought a bunch of kale yesterday, pasta is a great idea! Love the wintery theme; I think a red vegetable would compliment this dish.

J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog)

I add kale to EVERYTHING! I make a great chicken, kale and wild rice soup with parsnips, onions and a little garlic for added flavor. I highlight with white wine vinegar and tarragon. My youngest says it’s his favorite!


I’ve never tried anything like this before – a pasta sauce from kale! I’ll definitely be trying this one!


What a great way to use up all those greens! It looks really delicious (and like something my kale-hating husband might actually go for)!
Usually if I have any extra or any beginning to wilt I stash them in my “scraps bag” in the freezer and make vegetable stock when the bag is full.


Massaged Kale and Currant Salad from Cynthia Lair’s Feeding the Whole Family is a fun recipe, lasts for days, improves with age, and is a great conversation piece at potlucks. (“Did you really have to massage it?”)


I love fresh greens! My Mom always made us something called “wilted lettuce”, which isn’t really wilted. Mom’s recipe says use green leaf lettuce, but I don’t know why you couldn’t use kale or some other fresh greens. Wash lettuce, and cut into pieces (she tore the leaves into long strips). Cut up (or dice) new onions and add to lettuce. Sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle with vinegar. Heat olive oil to steaming, being careful not to overheat or allow to catch on fire. Pour the oil over the lettuce and stir to mix.
I could eat a CSA box full of greens prepared this way. I call it “snack crack” – it’s so addictive!


I adore kale – but not everyone around here shares that feeling. But I bet all mixed up with yummy cheese and pureed, my family will actually eat their greens! Yum!


This look fabulous, and will be a great way to use up the gorgeous kale in my garden. We get a lot of greens in our CSA, and we eat most of them as salads (and kale in soups). The only thing I can’t deal with is chard — just cannot bring myself to enjoy that icky leaf. A few nights ago, we made the kale salad you posted — it was absurdly delicious. That recipe is a keeper, for sure.


I have a daughter who is allergic to pine nuts so I’ve been experimenting with new versions of pesto. So far the best is almonds, young rocket (old is too bitter), parmesan, garlic and olive oil. Of course, they don’t really go in for pesto in Bologna…

Martin Yarnit

This looks delicious Heidi. Kale is one of my favorite veggies and I love it raw almost better than cooked. Most mornings I throw a big handful or two of kale in a blender with water, blueberries, a banana, a little yogurt and a touch of cinnamon and syrup. It is delicious and nutritious. Two of the three little ones in the house devour it and always ask for seconds! I love your website and have made so many of your recipes and recommend it to everyone looking for a good recipe!


what I would do for just one CSA box!
this pasta sounds amazing – it’s nice to see a sauce that isn’t creamy, tomato, or pesto.


My husband and I run a CSA and we have tons of recipes for greens, but it never seems to be enough for our members. We are constantly asked for good recipes they can use up their greens with. Actually my current blog post is all about our love of greens. This recipe is something I will start suggesting to our members. Thanks!


Again, a WINNER! Had a bunch of kale (can’t sell it raw — my fave salad–to anyone in my house), and this was the PERFECT vehicle. SO GOOD. Little man devoured two servings over orchiette w/shaved parmesan. Gorgeous color, too!


Kale is not such a big thing here, but I love chard and spinach – soups like Anna Thomas’s Green soup that you posted some time ago are nice ways to use up greens.
I agree with Emm too – being the recipient of lovely vegie boxes is not a bad problem to have!


Of course, kale chips! Toss cleaned DRY kale in olive oil and flakey sea salt and throw into the broiler for 4 or 5 minutes on a cookie sheet. Watch it closely so it doesn’t burn. It’s the most delicious snack. You can try fancy salt too, a bit of lemon or cayenne pepper. Mmmmmm.


I always love a new recipe with kale!
Such a gorgeous colour. Thanks for sharing.

The Bounty Hunter

Oh, I just bought a whole bunch of kale from the farmer’s market! I don’t have any penne though… but I just stocked up on soba. So I might do a soba bowl, using sesame oil and adding some fresh ginger to the mix as well!


This looks fantastic! I have some local goat cheese in the fridge – looks like this will be it’s destiny!

Lisa @ simplifying the simple life

Inheriting a lot of CSA boxes seems like a good problem to have.

Jen @ keepitsimplefoods

Heidi, this pasta dish looks SO hearty and heart warming. I happen to be getting ready to headout to the market and MUST get the ingredients! Anything with goat cheese and kale ROCKS in my book! -Mary

Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)

This pasta looks so wonderful … and healthy! I just posted a Sephardi Pickle recipe that you may like … it will use some of your cabbage greens, but also cauliflower, carrots, and any other good veg you think to combine…


kale pesto…that sounds delicious, I really need to join a CSA, It looks like such a great way to produce creativity

Beth @kitchen minions

Thanks shallot!


I love kale, but it is the other greens I have a hard time with. Sometimes beens & greens with caramelized onions is nice and I also have a good Collard Green Pesto recipe which is nice. Can’t wait to hear everyone’s suggestions.


This looks amazing! I just made some pesto last week to use up a bunch of my fresh herbs before they die. I also dry them as well, so I can have them all winter.


This looks and sounds fantastic. I was wondering, I recently bought some fresh lavender leaves and I’m not sure how to use them. Do you think I could sub them for thyme in this recipe? Or do you have any other suggestions?


Great post. I am always curious too. I usually end up doing a soup, starting with stock, then adding the greens, lots of garlic and lemon. Really good and simple. I will post the recipe soon.


Heidi I love all of your recipes, they are inspiring (meaning the recipes will work with changes and adaptions were needed). The flatbread idea sounds like what I want to make with my greens. Can anyone point me in the direction of a great whole wheat flatbread recipe?


when i used to subscribe to a CSA, i was making a lot of pestos, soups and stews using the greens. kale chips were also a popular thing.

laura @ alittlebarefoot

Heidi – it’s like you read my mind (or looked in my fridge). I have a bunch of fresh kale that needs to be used up in the next few days, and this looks perfect for tomorrow when I’m in need of a warm, satisfying lunch at home.


This looks so delicious! I need to try this. love your recipes. I’ve made the Pumpkin Spice pie four times already–adore it. 🙂


No CSA for me…*sigh* I can’t get enough money together to pay for the whole season up front…so I live vicariously through these posts.


When I subscribed to the organic veg box in the UK, I never got enough greens, but I was given every week a swede, immediately renamed ‘the evil turnip’ by my family, who did not like it. I have to admit that more than one ended up in the compost bin, though most of them were mashed or in soup or braised, and eaten by me.


This looks like an absolute winner. I made the kale salad and as Heidi said, I also see myself making it again and again–it’s delicious. Thanks for all the inspiration!


I love kale. It’s definitely my favorite greens. I use it in everything, and sometimes I just sauté it in a pan with some garlic, and a dash of tamari and rice vinegar, and I just gobble it up as is.
I also like to chop it finely, sauté it in a pan and add it to a smash with potatoes, sweet potatoes, ground almonds or cashews, some nutritional yeast and pepper. I top it with some seeds. You may want to top it with a bit of parmesan too. I make this dish all the time in the winter. My kids eat it like it’s their last meal.
Thanks for your wonderful recipes and ideas.


I make something very similar to this but with spinach and it is more of a simple saute but since I love Kale, I will definitely make the substitution and follow your recipe. I would love to say you had me at Kale, but it is really the goat cheese. Goat cheese on pasta or pizza is fantastic. And maybe a touch of parm.

Laura @ SweetSavoryPlanet

I love kale, it’s a terrific green, I will definitely be giving this a go. I also think I’m going to do a half share CSA this summer, I’ve wanted to for awhile and I think now is the time!
I have plans for a big kale salad for Thanksgiving with cranberries, nuts, and blue cheese


Awesome recipe! I can’t wait to try it.


Just another interesting recipe for kale. Somehow I have been eating it only in Indian dishes.

Bogna@Pots and Frills

Hi Heidi, thanks for another tasty recipe! I was wondering if you could recommend some kind of substitute for goat cheese. I would like to retain a punchy flavor and the soft texture, but without the goat cheese flavor (which I just cannot bring myself to like).
Thanks in advance for your thoughts! Mai

mai truong

i’ve never tried kale.i’ve never been much of a cook but trying to make more of an effort and this recipe looks a great place to start.thanks for your help.


Always looking for new ways to cook with Kale as we are getting plenty in our veg boxes at the moment too. This will definitely be on the menu here over the next couple of days – sounds very yummy!


Kale is my #1 favorite vegetable. Lately, I have been boiling chopped kale for 2-3 minutes and then tossing it with fish sauce, toasted sesame seeds, a little toasted sesame oil, a little soy sauce, and dash of srihacha. I just play with the flavors until I like the flavor. It is excellent as a cold snack from the fridge, and it keeps for days.


White bean soup with Kale is another way to use up some kale.


Yum, this looks delicious! I usually make kale chips, use kale in pasta fazzioli and of course, your fabulous green lentil soup with the greek yogurt on top (the formal name slips my mind right now). I have to try this with some goat cheese I just got from the farmer’s market Wednesday (I was going to use it on pizza)! Thanks for all the great recipes!

Marianne Russell

Last night I made your “matchstick pasta” with kale, pomegranate, pistachio pesto and wheat pasta. The sweet of the fruit is wonderful with the kale.


I love to make a kale and butternut or acron squash pizza. With some mozzarella and goat cheese or parmesan and lots of crushed red pepper! I also agree with Maggie- garlicky greens with a fried egg, over rice especially, is a great hearty meal that even satisfies my meat-eating husband.


Just received the most beautiful carrots with fine, delicate fronds. Never tried to use them before, but found an internet recipe for a pesto using them. Blanched them quickly and then used an aged provolone as the cheese. A bit weird, but I think I really like it.


I’m obsessed with the simple recipe of rice vinegar and soy sauce – it brings out the sweet in any bitter green, and people who hate collared greens even when doused in bacon grease have loved it.


Honestly, I just love making sauteed eggs and greens. Any greens, especially kale or chard, sauteed with garlic & onions, served underneath some fried eggs makes me friends/family every time. Love it in pasta. Any tomatillo recipe suggestions? I just harvested another 10 lbs from my garden?!

Maggie at Eat Boutique

I wish I had forgetful friends like yours 🙂


Looks tasty. I always like ways to use up the greens that we get in our CSA. Earlier this week I used 2 bunches of spinach, 2 bunches of beet greens and a bunch of mustard greens in a spanikopita, spinach cheese pie, dish and it turned out fantastic!


This is great! I just got a whole bunch of kale in my Dutch version of a CSA box and was still wondering what to do with it, since I don’t like the traditional Dutch preparation, when I saw this post. It’s meant to be!


I love making kale pesto for pasta — so delicious and healthy. And if I’m completely out of ideas, I always make kale chips before the greens start wilting.

Nicole @cookingafterfive

I recently met Giada de Laurentiis and she showed me how to make her Spicy Pesto Pasta recipe! It’s very similar to yours, and I’ve posted it on my site. Absolutely delicious!

A Teenage Gourmet

I forgot to say, you have to add the cornmeal slowly, stirring the entire time, or it will all clump together!


My favorite way to use up greens is in a big pot of polenta. First, saute garlic, shallots, leeks, or whatever you have on hand in some olive oil. Then add 4 cups salted water, boil, and add 1 cup polenta (or cornmeal). Keep stirring until almost completely soft, add some chopped greens (any will do), and cook until done. Then add a big handful of shredded cheese (I like cheddar or goat cheese) and some fresh herbs. This is really good with a fried egg.


I tried kale for the first time when it came in my CSA, and after making Mark Bittman’s kale soup (with wheatberries, tofu and potatoes)–it’s a favorite! This soup from the “Vegetarian Bible” is a winter staple for us, and I’ve mixed in chard and other greens in a pinch. I also made a fantastic cabbage and kale gratin that beat away the rainy fall blues we get in Boston.


for a few weeks, we got tons of MASSIVE arugula in our CSA box, too tough and spicy to throw in a salad. i think the most creative thing i did with it was to make a timbale out of leftover lemony tomato-zucchini risotto, filled with a ton of blanched arugula and an herbed bechamel. it was one of those shocking experiments in which a few not-so great ingredients (once-frozen, texture destroyed risotto) turned into something really delicious, crisp on the top and sides, creamy and tangy in the middle, and with a bold undertone from the greens.


Kale (or chard etc) flatbreads are the way to go for me. I can get 2 whole bunches in a batch of 8 flatbreads. Parboil then chop them up along with a bit of chopped chile pepper, ginger and cilantro. Mix this into a basic whole wheat flatbread dough and cook on a griddle – chapati style! Serve with chutney, pickle or raita!


Oh this does look perfect for the winter!

Simply Life

Mmmm this looks delicious. So comforting.

Jessica @ How Sweet

I like to add sauteed greens to tofu rice bowls a la ReBar (the lovely almost-vegetarian cookbook from the Victoria restaurant of the same name). Since my husband is among the greens-averse, recipes like that are a way to make similar-but-separate meals for the two of us, substituting peas or broccoli for him.
One of my favorite greens recipes is Deborah Madison’s Green Barley Gratin from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone]. Blanched greens are pureed and added to a bechamel sauce with Gruyere, then poured over barley and baked. Even my husband can’t find anything to dislike about that :-).
I’ve been cooking through your archives in the last few months, Heidi, and we have enjoyed every one. Thank you for inspiring so many lovely meals. Can’t wait to see the new cookbook!


Hi there,
Just wanted to send a quick thanks as I’ve been having such amazing luck with your recipes lately – the coconut red lentil curry, sushi bowl, double broccoli quinoa, asparagus-tabasco butter quinoa are all now part of our regular rotation. It is very refreshing to find so many truly delicious, sure-fire recipes that are also good for us – I will be going through your archives all winter!


Heidi, this looks délicieux! Will definitely be making it this weekend (with fresh French goat cheese, nothing better in the world). I may have asked you this before, but they don’t have kale in France – is there anything I can substitute that will lend a similar flavor/texture? Spinach? Chard? Merci beaucoup! Rebecca in Paris


Perennial favourites for lentils: The lentil, roasted pepper and feta salad from The Greens Cookbook (Deborah Madison) is something to return to time and again (I’ve been relying on it for 15 years or so and everyone loves it.
Denis Cotter (two great books: Café Paradiso, Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and Me) has a great range of vegetarian kale recipes, given how easy it is to grow and buy kale in Ireland.


What a great way to use up kale. I’m always looking for pasta dishes that aren’t tomato based or alfredo-esque, as I’m not really a fan of either. I think I need to get my hands on a bunch of kale asap!


One of my favorite greens recipes is your baked pasta casserole. I also made swiss chard and pork dumplings this year, those are still in the freezer waiting to be tried, and I finally got that dinosaur kale for the first time in my CSA this week (the last week!) so I might be trying that salad recipe you posted a few posts ago. I want to do some soups, too, all I’ve done soup-wise is purees so far this year. I am sure I will be trying this as it looks like it will come together in a flash, or the “pesto” can be made in advance.


I’ve been wanting to try signing up for a CSA box but have been worried about not using everything in it… Hopefully I can come up with more recipes like this, I never would have thought of using kale as a pasta sauce! Thanks for the recipe!

Caroline @ A Cozy Kitchen

With growing seasons as they are in Ontario, we recieved our last CSA box this week for the season. We look forward each week to the surprises of what’s been freshed picked. Nothing feels greater than picking wet mud off of freshly dug potatoes. We’re fortunate that 1/2 of our box tends to be storage veg, so we are stocked up on squash, potatoes, yams and tomatillas for the next few months.
But back to your question – our favorite greens are the beet tops, we sautee and eat as is, or stuff chicken, or eat raw in a salad along with the stems.


I like to add kale to my favourite red lentil dahl. I tried the recipe you shared for Tuscan kale salad and it was gorgeous. I don’t think I even knew what kale was before I discovered your site a few years back!

joe @ Eden Kitchen

I love dark greens so so much. This looks delicious!


This looks fantastic– another classic 101 Recipes find.
When my CSA box is overflowing with greens my go to is beans and greens soup. Sometimes I leave it chunky and sometimes I blend it.


Until recently we had an on-farm pickup CSA share and now that we’ve moved, we get a weekly box delivered. My favorite way to use up various greens is Deborah Madison’s Greens with Potatoes recipe- can’t remember off the top of my head if the recipe is from The Savory Way or Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, but essentially it’s sauteed greens with some cooked potato chunks tossed in, and a little olive oil/lemon juice/vinegar for flavor, plus salt and plenty of pepper.


I love your site and have made several of your recipes. We’re in Canada and have received an organic basket (that’s what our family calls it even though it arrives in a box!) for about 15 years. Every now and then we get stuck on how to use something but we are mostly inspired. Our go-to recipe for kale and chard is from Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. It’s called ‘Pasta with Hearty Greens and Beans’ and it is ridiculously simple but delicious. Even our girls love it. (Basically, it is sliced greens cooked in olive oil and then combined with cooked pasta, white beans, lots of garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.)


We have lots of different ways of getting through greens in our CSA… Asian greens usually get the “Chinese soup” treatment. My mom used to toss greens and a protein (chicken, tofu, whatever) into broth with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and some chilies. Add sesame oil, green onions, and cilantro at the table and you’re all set. Kale and other hardy bitter greens often get sauteed with bacon, garlic, and chili flakes and then served over polenta or pasta with a couple of fried eggs and sometimes some cheese on top. Between greens and squash, the winter CSA can take some creativity. 🙂


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