by Olena

Lemony Kale Pasta with Asparagus

by Olena

5 from 1 reviews

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese. |

Zesty and garlicky kale has been on my mind ever since I had vegan kale Caesar salad at Heirloom restaurant in Vancouver last December. OMG, I just can’t stop thinking of that flavour! Of course restaurant refused to share recipe with me (what, are they crazy?!) and I have been recreating my own versions of it for nearly 6 months and I did it => vegan kale Caesar salad. It doesn’t contain roasted chickpeas or a bazillion salad dressing ingredients, I promise.

I made this lemony kale pasta because it’s spring and asparagus is in stores everywhere.

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese. |

Asparagus is one of the vegetables I love the look of, like the taste and absolutely hate the smell when disposed (you know what I mean). So, I’m learning to love it…Since asparagus is on Clean Fifteen list, I’m OK to buy it non-organic and soak in lukewarm water with vinegar for 10 minutes to get rid of pesticides. I’m yet to find an organic asparagus.

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese. |

This lemony kale pasta with asparagus recipe is under 30 minutes, super easy! First you make the slurry sauce and quickly cook asparagus in it. Cook pasta al dente separately. Lately I love organic kamut pasta. The texture is chewy and not mushy, keeps its shape well.

Then flavour sauce with lemon zest, freshly grated garlic and Parmesan cheese. Technically this dish is not vegetarian because Parmesan cheese is made with rennet from animal’s stomach. However, we are not vegetarians rather mostly plant-based eaters so I’m OK to place the recipe in vegetarian category. In fact, this was the only dish we had with any kind of dairy past week. I also heard there is vegetarian Parmesan but don’t know how or where…

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese. |

Kale is added at the very end when pasta is off the heat. You don’t want to cook it for a few reasons. One, to preserve flavonoids that help fight cancer (they get lost during cooking process). Two, kale is tastiest when fresh and crisp. I particularly love pairing Lacinato (Dinosaur or Tuscan) kale with lemon and garlic; it has sweeter and more delicate taste than curly kale, that’s why I love it I guess.

And then you get this creamy kale pasta. By the way, I made 2 batches in a row. Last one without kale for freezing – worked like a charm to stock up my freezer with my version of convenience. Enjoy and try my pasta with zucchini and tomatoes and pasta with cauliflower!

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese. |

And I shopped in style last week… With a clear message…Can’t get clearer LOL. I think the biggest attention I received was from an older lady at the check out who was in front of me buying bacon and Pepsi. I spent $117 for all this organic beauty and I noticed my bill is about $130 every week. Not bad, considering I don’t go to Costco often anymore and rarely buy meat. Every week I become more and more convinced it is possible to eat organic on a budget!

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese. |


Clean Eating Lemony Kale and Asparagus Pasta

5 from 1 reviews

Lemony Kale Pasta Recipe with asparagus, garlic and Parmesan cheese.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


  • 12 oz any short whole wheat pasta, dry (use GF for GF version)
  • 1/21 cup pasta water
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed & cut into 2” long pieces
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, plain (I used 2%)
  • 1 lemon, zest of and cut into slices
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 bunch kale, cut into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese and ground black pepper, for garnish (optional)


  1. Cook pasta al dente as per package instructions. Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water and set aside.
  2. Preheat large deep skillet on medium heat, add 2 cups vegetable stock, whisking cornstarch until dissolved in remaining 1 cup of broth and adding to the skillet; bring to a boil. Cook until thickened a bit.
  3. Add asparagus and salt. Stir, reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes covered. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat, add Greek yogurt, lemon zest and garlic; stir until smooth. At this point I added 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Stir in kale, lemon slices and pasta. Add more pasta water if necessary (I didn’t). Sprinkle with basil and serve hot.

Store: Refrigerate in a glass airtight container for up to 2 – 3 days.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.


olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

13 comments on “Lemony Kale Pasta with Asparagus

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  1. My whole family loved it! This definitely goes in our recipe book 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi! I made this recipe last night and while I absolutely loved it, my kale and asparagus were swimming in the sauce (not necessarily a bad thing as the sauce was delicious). I followed the recipe amounts but I wasn’t sure how thick the sauce should get. Could you clear that up for me? Thank you for the great recipe! I will definitely be testing out more of them.

    1. Hi Ilene. This is an easy fix. What pasta did you use? Whole wheat pasta tends to soak up more liquid than gluten free pasta. Another option is not to add pasta water or use 3 tbsp of cornstarch instead of 2. Also cook sauce a bit longer – it thickens more the longer you cook it. Easy peasy.:)

  3. Asparagus takes about three years to mature, but if you want organic, you can even grow it in a pot.

    As for organic being affordable–$117 is more than we spend for TWO weeks of groceries for TWO people, and our cart is a lot more full than the one in the photo. We get as much organic as we can, but for some things, like bananas or oranges–the price of organic ones is about double. WHY, when they are covered by a disposable skin, anyway? I think it’s great that people decide to be vegetarian or vegan or paleo or whatever they want to be. What I DON’T like, is when people smugly make comments that are condescending about people who make other food choices. “The older lady who was buying bacon and Pepsi”. That’s just MEAN. Oh, and since you totally ruined parmesian cheese for me, let me tell you this: Plants are living things too. My mother grew literally hundreds of plants in our house, and that doesn’t count the ones in her multiple gardens. I used to sit in a chair and watch her make the rounds, watering them. She talked and sang to them, and THEY SLOWLY TURNED TOWARDS HER. Yes, that’s right. They responded to her, just like an animal. Plants are living things, and just because you don’t hear a sound when they are killed for your eating enjoyment doesn’t mean they don’t mind being killed. You’re welcome.

    1. Let’s use common sense for a second: disapproving poor food choices and being proud of your own healthy food choices is smuggly and mean? Not in my world. I was raised to be honest and name things their own names. I didn’t come up to the lady and said in her face that unless she would ask me. I shared my opinion on my blog to help educate people. Making those poor choices is pure ignorance to your own health and our tax $. There is no excuse to drink pepsi. It is not a vital nourishing ingredient for a human organism. Water is. Pepsi is poison. And yes I am proud of my food choices and will continue sharing about it in hopes to educate public to eat better and be in better health for their own happiness and their families. What you encourage is pure ignorance to one of the biggest issues of world – 1 in 7 people in the world is obese. Yes, my food is better than that lady’s food. I spent $5 for bananas and she spent same $5 for junk. So, it is a choice.
      I didn’t quite understand what you meant about Parmesan or plants so can’t comment on that. Can’t grow asparagus – not enough land or time. 2 little kids on my hands with no family to help. Btw, your comment was smuggly with caps and “you’re welcome” at the end.

  4. hi Olena! I’ve read that most asparagus is pesticide free since pests are not attracted to it. Maybe pests hate the smell too? Love your site by the way.

    1. Hi Tracey. LOL maybe I’m not the only one. Yes, asparagus seems to be safe non-organic. Like I said I can’t find it organic anyways…Thank you so much!

    1. Haha. I got it at the organic expo CHFA West from these guys. Goes with me to the grocery store every time. I’m still debating whether it is appropriate to wear around kids like hockey games and playgrounds LOL.

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