As a new year unfolds we’re all looking to lighten up our meals, but we still want food that’s comforting. Winter pasta is the perfect choice—especially if you take advantage of all the seasonal root vegetables, robust greens, and winter citrus that can add incredible flavor to any simple dish. My go-to: this healthy kale spaghettini recipe.

This recipe takes advantage of all the best aspects of winter produce. It has big flavor, lots of nutrition, and it comes together quickly for a great weeknight dinner.

The key to this dish is spaghettini. If you’re not familiar with spaghettini, it’s a type of pasta that’s thinner than spaghetti. Most grocery stores carry it, but if you have trouble tracking it down try a specialty Italian grocer. Added to this pasta is seasoned black (or lacinato) kale, golden cooked shallots, garlic, lemon, and delicately flavored olive oil. The lacinato kale is widely available this time of year. Once cooked, its somewhat bitter flavor develops into an earthy and slightly sweeter version of its traditional leafy cousin, and its high vitamin content makes it a no-brainer.

Once the pasta is ready to serve, top it with a sprinkling of red Hawaiian sea salt. The beautiful red color of this unrefined sea salt comes from having been mixed with red Hawaiian alaea volcanic clay. It’s rich in minerals and has a softer, mellow flavor that makes it a special addition to this dish. The essential finish? Top everything off with big shavings of nutty, fresh parmesan cheese.

Olive Oil & Kale Spaghettini

Spaghettini is a lighter noodle option and pairs perfectly with earthy, hardy lacinato kale.


1 pound spaghettini pasta
6 tablespoons high-quality olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil for sautéing
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 bunches lacinato (black) kale, rinsed, tough stems removed, cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lemon lightly juiced and zested
Red Hawaiian sea salt for finishing
Grated or shaved parmesan cheese for serving

Olive Oil & Kale Spaghettini Ingredients


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghettini and cook according to package instructions or until al dente (approximately 9–11 minutes). Drain. Coat and toss the pasta with delicate flavored olive oil and butter.

2. In a large sauté pan, over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add shallots and cook 2–3 minutes until soft and lightly golden. Add garlic and kale. Sauté until kale is wilted and tender, about 5–8 minutes. Season kale with kosher salt, pink peppercorns, and red pepper flakes.

3. Add kale, lemon zest, and a light squeeze of lemon juice to pasta and toss well. Add more olive oil or seasonings to taste. Serve and finish each pasta bowl with red sea salt. Top with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Olive Oil & Kale Spaghettini with Parmesan

This satisfying-yet-hearty pasta dish delivers comfort and nutrients in one bowl.

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