Tomato and Kale Pasta

Tomato and Kale Pasta

I only discovered kale a couple of years ago when girl I used to work with brought in a bag of kale chips. I was sure they wouldn’t be good but once I tasted them I was hooked. They weren’t even fried, but they were salty and crunchy, exactly what you want in a chip.

Before I tried those chips I thought kale was tough and bitter like other leafy greens such as collards or mustard greens. I was wrong. It’s surprisingly tender, and not bitter. It’s also so good for you—high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But my favorite thing about it is when you tear the leaves off the ribs, it smells fresh and so green.

Over the past year, I’ve been experimenting with kale recipes. I was buying it from the grocery store at least once a week, so we decided to try planting kale in our garden this year. It was kind of an afterthought, but it grew like weeds. Our carefully planted tomatoes, on the other hand, didn’t do so well. The plants grew beautifully, but the tomatoes themselves barely grew and those that did just never ripened.

Tomatoes, Kale, and Garlic

I came up with the recipe for this Tomato and Kale Pasta one day for lunch when I didn’t have many fresh ingredients around the house, but I did have a bounty of kale. I knew right away that it would be a perfect camping recipe—it only requires a few ingredients, it’s easy to prepare, and really is astonishingly flavorful. I officially tested the recipe for camping when I made it on a trip to King’s Canyon a couple of months ago (the same trip where I tried to bring the Almond Flax Granola). It was delicious, and perfect for a cool night by the fire.

Sauteing Garlic

Tomato and Kale Pasta

Tomato and Kale Pasta


4 servings

Prep Time / Cook Time


Activity Guide

Bike Touring, Car Camping


  • 12 ounces pasta, such as linguine
  • 1 large bunch of kale, center ribs removed, leaves roughly chopped
  • 1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese


  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Large pot
  • Skillet
  • Spatula or spoon


  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook according to package directions. Reserve about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet and saute garlic until lightly brown and crisp. Remove garlic from the pan and place on a paper towel, leaving as much oil in the pan as possible. Add red pepper flakes, tomatoes, kale and about 2 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to the pan, and cover. When the kale turns bright green and wilts, remove the lid and stir. Continue cooking until the kale is tender.
  3. Add the pasta to the kale mixture and stir to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water if it seems dry.
  4. Serve hot with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

5 thoughts on “Tomato and Kale Pasta

  1. Just wanted to share that I personally love to make this recipe with bow tie pasta. Maybe it’s because of the shape but I really do like the texture of the bow tie with the kale and tomatoes. Yum!

  2. Hi there! I am LOVING your site–very inspiring, both in terms of cooking and adventuring! I can’t wait to try this recipe on the road soon. A quick way to get some protein in this meal is to use the Barilla Plus type of pasta. Its made with lentil flour,among other things, so the pasta is packed with a lot more nutritional substance than normal pasta, which is an awesome and easy way to replenish yourself after a long day of backpacking…Just thought I’d share…

    Keep up your awesome blog!

    1. Thanks, Marnee! That Barilla pasta is really good! I tried it recently and was so pleasantly surprised. Good idea!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *