Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini

Pesto sauce is such an Italian staple. It was a favorite of my Nana Lulu’s and I love playing with different iterations of it. There is a misconception I think that pesto sauce has to be basil based when that is totally not the case. Pesto just means paste, and it can be a thick, paste consistency sauce made with any combination of greens, herbs, nuts, and cheese. So I made a really simple version of winter kale pesto to take advantage of the more seasonal ingredients (though I can’t wait for basil to come into season again). It came together really quickly too which I loved!

The sauce really was simple thanks to my food processor. All of the ingredients just went right into the bowl and then I ran it until I had a lovely thick winter kale pesto sauce.
While I made the sauce, I quickly boiled a package of fresh cheese tortellini. It only took a few minutes and I knew they were done when they floated to the top. I loved using the multi-color tortellini for just that extra bit of interest.
Then all I had to do was drain that tortellini and toss it in the sauce. I finished it with some of the starchy cooking water to help loosen it up, which is one of the oldest tricks in the Italian book. I also drizzled some extra olive oil in for that shiny touch and to give it just that extra bit of flavor.

That was all there was to this incredible, satisfying and quick meal! It just warmed my soul but wasn’t heavy at all. My Nana would have been proud I think. I hope you all love it too! xoxo

Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini
Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini
4 from 3 votes
Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini
Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 

This is such a wonderful winter kale pesto made more substantial with white beans, served over tender cheese tortellini. Perfect for a vegetarian dinner!

Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pesto, Winter Kale Pesto
Servings: 6
Calories: 415 kcal
Author: Jeanie and Lulu’s Kitchen
Ingredients
  • 3 cups kale leaves packed
  • 1 can white beans drained, 15 ounces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic *see note for making this ahead
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus additional for a drizzle at the end.
  • 1 package fresh cheese tortellini 20 ounces
Instructions
  1. First, get a pot of water on the stove to boil. White it comes to a boil, get out a food processor and combine the kale, white beans, pecans, roasted garlic, parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl. Run it until it becomes pasty. Then keep it running while you slowly pour in the olive oil until you have a lovely sauce. The water should be boiling at this point. Salt it generously, then cook the tortellini until tender for about 2 minutes. Reserve a 1/4 cup of the cooking water, then drain the tortellini. Toss the tortellini and pesto together, then pour in the water and an extra drizzle of olive oil and stir them in to loosen everything up. Serve immediately with extra parmesan on top! Enjoy!! 

Recipe Notes

*To roast garlic, cut the top off to reveal the tops of the cloves. Drizzle the top with olive oil  and a sprinkle of salt, then wrap it in foil. Roast it in a 350 oven for an hour, then refrigerate it and use it as needed! It keeps for a long time. 

Nutrition Facts
Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini
Amount Per Serving (1 bowl)
Calories 415 Calories from Fat 205
% Daily Value*
Fat 22.8g35%
Saturated Fat 3.2g20%
Cholesterol 12mg4%
Sodium 278mg12%
Potassium 484mg14%
Carbohydrates 44.5g15%
Fiber 3.9g16%
Sugar 0.3g0%
Protein 13.4g27%
Calcium 110mg11%
Iron 2.7mg15%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
This is such a wonderful winter kale pesto made more substantial with white beans, served over tender cheese tortellini. Perfect for a vegetarian dinner! #pasta #kale #whitebeans #winterkalepesto #jeanieandluluskitchen
Winter Kale Pesto with Tortellini

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