This is probably one of the simplest pasta dishes you can find, apart from maybe just garlic & oil! It makes use of seasonal Cavolo Nero kale and really gives it a starring role! The best thing is you can make this Garlicky Cavolo Nero Pasta in the time it takes to boil the spaghetti or other pasta of your choice. Perfect for when you need a quick, easy pasta dish.
The lovely thing about this garlicky vegan cavolo nero pasta, is you can mix it up and customize it very easily to your own tastes. Add a squeeze of lemon. Or more chilli flakes. You could even add your favourite plant-based sausage or "facon". The important thing is to make it quickly. So you can have your quick pasta dish for when you're hungry and need some comfort food!
🌿What Is Cavolo Nero?
Cavolo Nero is a type of kale. Sometimes called Tuscan Kale, Black Kale or Dinosaur Kale. It's really popular in Italy and has beautiful dark glossy green leaves that have a lovely bumpy texture (hence the dinosaur name!)
Cavolo Nero is definitely my favourite kale. Not only does it look pretty growing in the garden (I pop it in as a leaf in my flower beds!) it has a softer texture which I really like. The leaves aren't quite as 'kaley' as the rougher curly kale, and are a little sweeter, so I find it delicious to wilt into soups or chop up into a quick pasta.
For this simple vegan pasta all you need is the following key ingredients:
- Cavolo Nero -or any other favourite kale or cabbage.
- Spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta.
- Garlic. Lots of fresh chopped garlic! Use as much as your heart desires.
- Chilli flakes or fresh chilli- use this to your own personal taste.
- Pine Nuts , optional- you could use other nuts such as slivered almonds.
- Nutritional Yeast -for a lovely cheesy taste and to help bring the whole dish together. This replaces parmesan cheese and makes this dish vegan.
- Good quality olive oil- for both sizzling the garlic in, and as an extra drizzle.
- Optional- pangritata to sprinkle on top. Check out my simple recipe here:Vegan Parmesan: Cheezy, Spicy, Herby Crunchies for Pasta (Pangritata)l
👩🍳How to Make Cavolo Nero Pasta
For the full instructions head to the recipe card.
- Strip or chop the cavolo nero into longish pieces
- Chop the garlic into little slices.
- Boil the water for the pasta and add the pasta when boiling.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan until slightly golden. Put aside.
- Add olive oil to a frying pan, then add the garlic and sizzle. Add the kale.
- If you would like chilli, add it here.
- Once the pasta is cooked, reserve some of the pasta water.
- Toss the pasta in the pan with the garlic and kale.
- Mix the pasta water with the nutritional yeast. Then toss it in with the pasta. The slight starchyness of the pasta water in combination with the nutritional yeast will form a light cheezy sauce.
- Add the pine nuts. Season and serve with more nutritional yeast or some pangritata.
❓FAQ & Trouble Shooting
I like to use a long pasta such as spaghetti or linguine. But use whatever is your favourite! You can choose to use gluten free
You can use your favourite green leafy veggie instead. Cut up savoy cabbage, use spinach, whatever you have to hand.
This is a vegan pasta dish, so it keeps the dish vegan but makes a yummy cheesey flavour to replace parmesan cheese. You can buy nutritional yeast online or at the supermarket. (link: Nutritional Yeast)
The starchyness of the pasta water combines with the nutritional yeast and once it is poured into the pasta with olive oil and garlic it becomes a kind of sauce.
🍝Serving Ideas and Similar Recipes
We're pretty sure you're going to love this quick Garlicky Cavolo Nero Pasta, and we suggest serving it with a wholesome salad for extra deliciousness. And if you're keen for more pasta, why not try some of our other pasta dishes.
- Vegan Caesar Salad with Crunchy Chickpea Croutons (Gluten Free!)
- Harissa Roasted Chickpea & Tomato Salad
- How To Make Vegan Rasta Pasta
- Vegan Red Pepper and Chorizo Mafalda Pasta
- Leftover Pasta Frittata
Quick Garlicky Cavolo Nero Pasta
- 1 Large frying pan
- Put the pasta water on to boil.
- Finely slice the garlic and remove the cavolo nero from it's stalks. Shred the cavolo nero.6 cloves garlic, 200 g cavolo nero
- In the frying pan, toast the pine nuts until slightly golden. Remove and set aside.50 g pine nuts
- Add the pasta to the pasta water.180 g pasta
- Sizzle the garlic and chilli if using in the olive oil. Add in the cavolo nero and turn in the pan.6 cloves garlic, 200 g cavolo nero, 1 teaspoon chilli flakes, 2 tablespoon olive oil
- Once the pasta is cooked al dente, reserve a ⅓ cup (50ml) of the cooking water, then drain
- Mix the pasta in with the cavolo nero, tossing so the oil coats the pasta well.
- Mix the nutritional yeast in with the reserved pasta water, then pour it over the pasta, mixing well. This will turn into a light cheesy coating for the pasta.2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Mix the pine nuts into the pasta, then add salt & pepper to taste.Salt and Pepper to taste
- Serve in bowls with extra nutritional yeast or pangritata (toasted breadcrumbs) to sprinkle over the top