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Lazy Day Pasta and Garlic Kale Sauce

by Sophie Gordon from The Whole Vegetable

This quick midweek pasta dish features a vibrant kale and garlic sauce. Packed with nutrients and flavour, it also happens to be vegan.

From the book

Sophie Gordon


A few years back, my family got really into making a cavolo nero sauce for a quick midweek spaghetti dinner. I tried it a handful of times and loved the vibrancy so I’ve re-created my own. A pinch of chilli and lemon zest really brings it to life.

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1 large bunch of kale, any variety, roughly chopped (cavolo nero is also great)
1 large shallot/ white onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic: 4 crushed or finely chopped, 2 thinly sliced
2–4 tbsp olive oil
2–4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tbsp white wine
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 lemon, juiced, plus a dash of zest
salt and pepper
Approx. 340g dried pasta of choice (penne, macaroni, rigatoni, cannelloni, fusilli, etc.)
200g mushrooms, sliced thin

Essential kit

You will need: a blender.


Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add your chopped kale and cook for 5–7 minutes, until wilted and cooked through. You can also steam it. Once cooked, drain and blanch in cold water briefly to stop the cooking process.

Transfer the kale to a blender and add your chopped shallot/onion, the 4 crushed or finely chopped cloves of garlic, the olive oil, nutritional yeast, mustard, white wine, chilli flakes, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper and blend until you have a relatively smooth but thick sauce mixture. You can add water to loosen if necessary. Season to taste, then pop to one side while you make the rest of the dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and add your desired pasta. Cook until al dente, about 10–12 minutes. Drain, then put back into the pot and cover.

While your pasta is cooking, heat up about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. Once hot, add the 2 sliced cloves of garlic and sauté until golden and fragrant. Make sure you stir frequently to prevent them burning.

Add your sliced mushrooms to the garlic and sweat until soft. You can add a dash more olive oil or water to the pan if it is a little dry. Season with salt and pepper. The mushrooms will sweat and wilt very quickly. Go ahead, pour in your kale sauce and heat up over a low heat, again stirring frequently. Heat until cooked through.

Pour the sauce over the pasta in the pot and stir well. You can do this over a low heat if your pasta has cooled too much. Season with extra salt and pepper, chilli flakes and olive oil to taste. Dish up accordingly and enjoy!

Waste tips: Any variety of greens works well in this sauce – it’s super garlicky and creamy despite having no actual ‘cream’ in it. The white wine makes the dish feel like a real treat, but you can omit it or try adding soy sauce/tamari or vinegar – just go in with less initially. You could also roast any leftover veggies, or try adding another vegetable to the sauce if you don’t have or like mushrooms. The sauce will keep in the fridge, if you find you have extra. You could also serve it differently by dishing up the pasta first, then pouring the sauce over – it’s totally up to you.

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From the book: The Whole Vegetable

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