Past Recipes
Kale-Walnut Pesto Pasta

Kale-Walnut Pesto Pasta with Summer Squash and Mozzarella

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We’re skipping the red sauce in this pasta recipe and going green with a vibrant kale, basil, and walnut pesto. Cavatappi, or corkscrew in Italian, refers to the spiral-shaped pasta that’s perfect for scooping up the sauce here. Tasty mix-ins like sautéed squash, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes break up the green and make the pasta feel even more summery. A kitchen helper can tear the mozzarella and toss everything together. 

  • Vegetarian
  • Stovetop Only
  • Quick Cook
Serving size
Prep & cook time
Cooking Skill
By Chef Michelle

By Chef Michelle

  • Calories 850
  • Protein 30g
  • Total Carb 103g
  • Total Fat 34g

Given the cook-at-home nature of Plated and natural variation in ingredients, nutritional information is approximated. See details.

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

  • summer squash
    • 6 ounces
    • summer squash
  • lemon
    • 1
    • lemon
  • dinosaur kale
    • 4 ounces
    • dinosaur kale
  • basil
    • 1/4 ounce
    • basil
  • sun-dried tomatoes
    • 1 ounce
    • sun-dried tomatoes
  • garlic
    • 1 clove
    • garlic
  • walnuts
    • 2 tablespoons
    • walnuts
  • grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1 ounce
    • grated Parmesan cheese
  • cavatappi
    • 8 ounces
    • cavatappi
  • fresh mozzarella
    • 4 ounces
    • fresh mozzarella

What You’ll Need

  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 8" medium pot
  • blender or food processor (optional)
  • 10" medium pan


Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare ingredients

    Prepare ingredients

    Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Halve squash lengthwise; cut crosswise into ½-inch half-moons, discarding ends. Halve lemon. Stack kale leaves and thinly slice, discarding long stems. Pick basil leaves, discarding stems. Thinly slice sun-dried tomatoes. Using the flat side of a knife, gently crush garlic clove.

  2. Make kale-walnut pesto

    Make kale-walnut pesto

    In a food processor or blender, combine basil, crushed garlic, half of kale, half of walnuts, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1 tablespoon water and pulse until smooth. Stir in half of Parmesan, 1 squeeze lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Set kale-walnut pesto aside until Step 5. Use remaining lemon to brighten a glass of water.

  3. Boil cavatappi

    Boil cavatappi

    Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in cavatappi and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water, then drain and return to pot, off heat. Meanwhile, halve mozzarella and cut or tear 1 half into bite-size pieces—this is a great task for a kitchen helper. Save remaining mozzarella for another recipe, like topping a pizza or a salad. 

  4. Sauté squash and kale

    Sauté squash and kale

    While pasta cooks, heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add squash and sauté, strirring, until softened, 4-5 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Stir in remaining kale and cook until wilted, 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and set aside until pasta is cooked. 

  5. Toss pesto with pasta

    Toss pesto with pasta

    Once pasta is cooked, add kale-walnut pesto and sun-dried tomatoes to pot with pasta, off heat, and stir to combine. Stir in reserved pasta cooking water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until pesto clings to noodles (you likely won't need to use all of the pasta water). Stir in sautéed squash and kale and mozzarella until fully combined (enlist a kitchen helper for this part). Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

  6. Plate pesto pasta

    Plate pesto pasta

    Divide kale-walnut pesto pasta between serving bowls. Garnish with remaining walnuts and remaining Parmesan. Dig in! 

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