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15 Minute Lemon Kale Pasta

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Delicious and easy lemon kale pasta that you can make with three, simple ingredients that you can make vegan and gluten free. You’ll love the zesty flavor in this kale pasta recipe for the perfect, 15-minute healthy dinner for two!

lemon kale pasta

I call this delicious 15 minute healthy dinner “lazy pasta”, and it’s one of my top go-to meals for nights that I don’t really want to cook. It’s been perfect for me this week because I just got back from the Wellbeing Creators Conference in LA and Instagram’s Instabeach Party at Nobu in Malibu, where I had to fly twice in one week. That might not sound like a lot if you like air travel, but as someone who’s still overcoming their fear of flying, twice in one week felt like a lot of mental stress.

And it was!

As I mentioned in my special birthday episode, learning to take risks has been a huge part of my mental growth. It came from this Healthier Together Podcast episode with Daniel Pink, where he says that, according to research, we almost always regret NOT taking a risk more than taking it. So, I acted accordingly, and I’m SO glad I did. The creator events were AMAZING, and I met so many cool people and learned so, so much that I can’t wait to share with you.

Needless to say, when I got home, I wanted two things: a delicious, easy, healthy dinner and a clean kitchen. That’s where my 15-minute lemon kale pasta comes in. Wilted kale feels like a magic trick. Such a huge pile of it becomes a few delicious, easy-to-digest bites.

Ingredients in Lemon Kale Pasta

This delicious 15 minute healthy dinner is made with just five simple ingredients you probably already have on hand. Here’s everything you need to make it:

  • Pasta: use your favorite short-length pasta! This recipe works great with gluten free and grain free pastas, too.
  • Chickpeas or rotisserie chicken: add protein to this lemon kale pasta with either a can of chickpeas (I find the ones from Eden are easiest to digest) or with shredded rotisserie chicken.
  • Olive oil: you’ll drizzle olive oil on top of this pasta to give it extra flavor, nutrients, and texture. See my guide below for picking the healthiest olive oils!
  • Lemons: you’ll need the zest and juice of one lemon for the perfect amount of tang in this pasta.
  • Kale: I love the texture and taste of wilted kale, plus it packs anti-inflammatory benefits into this dish that’s easy to digest once it’s cooked!

How to pick the healthiest olive oil

In the longevity episode of the podcast with Dr. William Li, we learned that olive oil is one of the BEST ingredients when eating to beat inflammation, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. But obviously, all olive oils that you see in the grocery store shelf aren’t created equal. So, Dr. Li shared his genius trick for buying the best olive oil at the grocery store!

To ensure you get an olive oil with maximum disease-fighting abilities, Dr. Li recommends choosing an extra virgin olive oil made from just one type of olive as opposed to a blend. These are his favorite regions to pick olives from:

  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Italy

You can learn all about the science behind it in depth here!

How to make Lemon Kale Pasta

I think you’ll love this healthy, easy meal that can be whipped up in 15 minutes. Here’s how to get this one pot dinner on the table in three steps:

  1. First, warm a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add either a can of rinsed, drained chickpeas or cooked chicken and kale. Sprinkle it with a generous amount of salt and cook for about 10 minutes, or until chickpeas are golden and kale is wilted.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in very well-salted water according to package instructions. When pasta is al dente, reserve some pasta water, and add the pasta to pan with crispy chickpeas and wilted kale.
  3. Turn off heat and add pasta water plus the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Divide the pasta between two plates. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and fresh ground black pepper if desired.

Tip for cooking pasta

Make sure you add at least a palmful of salt to the pasta water before cooking the noodles. This hugely impacts the flavor.

Can I make it vegan or gluten free?

To make vegan: Opt for using chickpeas as the protein in this dish instead of chicken.
To make gluten free: simply use your favorite gluten free pasta.

More healthy pasta recipes:

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15 Minute Lemon Kale Pasta

  • Author: Liz Moody
  • Total Time: 15 minutes


  • extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • either 1 can of rinsed, drained chickpeas OR 1.5 cups of cooked chicken, like rotisserie
  • 1/2 bunch of kale (3-4 packed cups), stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • fine grain sea salt
  • 2 servings of pasta of choice
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest 


  1. Warm a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add either the chickpeas OR the cooked chicken and kale. Sprinkle on a generous amount of salt and cook over medium for about ten minutes, until the chickpeas are golden and kale is wilted.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your pasta in very well-salted water according to the package’s instructions. When the pasta is al dente, reserve some pasta water, and add the pasta to the pan with the kale and either chickpeas or chicken.
  3. Turn off the heat and add the pasta water to the pan plus the zest and juice of 1 lemon. Divide the pasta between two plates. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, red pepper flakes and fresh ground black pepper. Enjoy! 
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins


  • Serving Size: 2

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  1. c says:

    This looks amazing. Do you know how leftovers might hold up?

    1. Liz Moody says:

      Hey Colleen,

      This recipe will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days in a tightly sealed container. I hope you love it!

      xo, Liz