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Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti

A creamy green sauce for spaghetti that's super silky and coats the pasta beautifully. The pesto is homemade from kale and cashews. It's suitable for vegetarians and vegans. 

Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti in a pink bowl


We eat our way through jars and jars of pesto each month  but I sometimes like to make my own.

It tastes completely different, depending on which leaves and nuts you use, so you can vary it each time you make it.

To make this spaghetti pesto sauce I used kale, basil and cashew nuts as my main flavours and it was really good.

Which Cheese?

I used vegan Parmesan (Violife of course) in the pesto and to finish off the pasta before serving, but you could use standard or vegetarian Parmesan in your pesto and to serve.

You can also make this pesto with no cheese, but it definitely adds to the flavour and texture.

Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti topped with grated parmesan and fresh basil

The secret to a good pasta sauce

The secret to turning a good homemade pesto into a superior pasta sauce is the addition of some pasta water. Towards the end of the pasta cooking time, dip a cup into the boiling water and set aside the pasta water.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain it and pour it back into the pan.

Over a low heat add the pesto and stir through. You will notice it is difficult to mix the pesto through the pasta evenly and that's where the pasta water comes into.

Add half a cup of the pasta cooking water and mix well. The pesto will turn into a silky sauce and coat the pasta beautifully and far more evenly. 

It doesn't thin the sauce either. The starch in the pasta water thickens the sauce.

Three photos of pesto being made. Jug filled with ingredients, whizzed up in a mini nutriforce blender and the final jug of pesto

Nutriforce Blender

While the pasta was cooking I whizzed up my pesto sauce. It's as quick as quick can be. Two minutes and you're done. 

I used my nutriforce blender which is a travel size power blender from Froothie.  It's nice and small to pack when you travel, but also great if you have a small kitchen or not much counter space. I whip it out when I'm making a pesto or hummus as it's just the right size of jug and it has a pulse function which is handy to get just the consistency you want. It's quick to clean too.

I got my dad one for his birthday and he's been whipping up smoothies and blending soup in his.

If you don't have a blender, you could make your pesto in a food processor, If you don't have a food processor either, you could make it in a pestle and mortar but you'd have to chop the kale very finely first before adding it.

Close up of Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti topped with grated parmesan

Pesto flavours

As I said before, the great thing about homemade pesto is the variety, you can change up the flavours every time.

I've made a spinach and lemon pesto; a cauliflower and pea pesto; a creamy pesto sauce to coat potato salad; a wild garlic and basil pesto with baobab; a spinach and pea pesto; a creamy triple green pesto using silken tofu for that creamy texture and a protein boost; a pea pesto and a sundried tomato Siciliana pesto which is heavenly stuff. 

How to make pesto

Pesto is basically just a mix of green leaves, nuts, garlic, parmesan, olive oil and seasoning. 

It is traditionally made with basil and pine nuts, but you can change the leaves and the nuts for a completely different flavour. 

The cheese is optional. Pesto is also good without cheese. They should all be seasoned with freshly ground salt and pepper.

10 basic pesto recipes

  1. Traditional Pesto - fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  2. Kale & Cashew Pesto - fresh kale, fresh basil leaves, cashew nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  3. Sundried Tomato Pesto - sundried tomatoes, almonds, garlic, olive oil
  4. Wild Garlic Pesto -wild garlic, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  5. Watercress Pesto - watercress, basil, brazil nuts, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  6. Broccoli Pesto - cooked broccoli, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  7. Hazelnut and Parsley Pesto - Hazelnuts, parsley, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  8. Chive and Lemon Pesto - Fresh chives, parsley, lemon juice and peel, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  9. Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Pesto - roasted red peppers, basil, almonds, garlic, parmesan and olive oil
  10. Walnut Basil Pesto - walnuts, free basil, garlic, parmesan and olive oil

Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti

Nutrients and Calories

This spaghetti dish is only 393 calories per portion, so it's great for a calorie controlled diet or if you are following the 5;2 diet.

It's also really filling and energy packed. It does contain fat, but it is under 5% saturated fat, which is what you want to look for, unless you are on an extreme diet.

This pasta dish is a good source of iron, calcium and protein.

why not try ...............

homemade pesto, kale pesto, green pasta sauce, kale pasta sauce, quick pasta sauce, quick spaghetti sauce, vegan pasta sauce, vegetarian pasta sauce, quick spaghetti recipe
Italian, vegan
Yield: 6 bowls of pasta
Overhead shot of Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti in pink bowl with pink napkin and gold cutlery

Kale and Cashew Pesto Spaghetti

prep time: 5 minscook time: 12 minstotal time: 17 mins
A creamy green sauce for spaghetti that's super silky and coats the pasta beautifully. The pesto is homemade from kale and cashews. It's suitable for vegetarians and vegans.


  • 50g kale
  • A generous handful of fresh basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 100g roasted cashew nuts
  • 30g vegan parmesan (or your favourite parmesan)
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 300-400g spaghetti


  1. Cook the spaghetti per the pack instructions until the pasta is al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking make the pesto. Whizz up the kale, basil, garlic, cashew nuts, parmesan, olive oil and black pepper until smooth.
  3. Before the end of cooking time, scoop out a cup of the pasta water and set aside.
  4. Drain the pasta, toss through the pesto, then add half a cup of the pasta water, more if you think it needs it and stir into a creamy sauce over a low heat until all the pasta is well coated.
  5. Serve topped with grated parmesan.
  6. Enjoy!
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Created using The Recipes Generator

A plate full of spaghetti topped with veggie spaghetti bolognese sauce

If you liked this spaghetti dish, you may also like my spaghetti bolognese.

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  1. We love pesto in our household too! I love the combination of the greens and nuts that you use in this recipe. We love kale and cashews here!

  2. Love a good pesto sauce and this looks fabulous! Can't wait to give it a try!

    1. Thanks Kim, oh yes do I am sure you will love it too.

  3. That sounds so delicious!!! I've been loving pesto lately (it just feels perfect for summer!) so I can't wait to make this!

    1. We eat so much pesto, it's lovely stuff, but homemade is always better.

  4. I love pesto but have to admit I am stuck in the same old (yummy) rut with it. I LOVE your list of pestos to try - definitely going to be switching things up a bit!

    1. Oh good, I am so glad I inspired you to try something different.

  5. I'm such a love of pesto - its just so versatile! My favourite is mint and walnut. You'd think the mint would be too strong but once you add the olive oil and parmesan it just balances out. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. It is totally versatile, we get through gallons of it. Never tried walnut and mint. Adding to my must-try list.

  6. I love pesto but my husband hates it...I think its the basil...I'm going to try the kale and cashew. I bet it might make a big difference.

    1. Ahh well maybe time to try some other leaves. Parsley, coriander, kale or spinach are good places to start.

  7. Looking at your photos, at first I thought it was zucchini pasta, they look really alike! So yummy!
    And thanks for 10 basic pesto recipes!! They are amazing!
    - Natalie Ellis

    1. Ah yes, that is good too and great to mix in with standard pasta for an extra boost of veg or to cut down on calories. Glad you liked the suggestions too :)


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