I kind of hate pasta salads drenched in mayo. To be honest, I can’t stomach them. I think they’re gross, loaded with calories, and just the very opposite of what a salad should really be.
A salad is supposed to be crunchy and light, not mushy and heavy. Final.
In other words, I’m a strong believer that pasta salad should never be made with mayo. You can disagree, of course. But that’s my opinion and until you’ll be able to prove me wrong, I am going to stick to my guns.
On the other hand, mayo-free pasta salads (like this one) can be a great summer one-bowl meals. Especially when you get to use less pasta and more veggies, for a more low-glycemic dish.
This kale pasta salad started out as an experiment. I wanted to make kale pesto, but forgot to buy pistachios. So I made a sort of kale light pesto/dressing. Then the day turned out to be much warmer than I expected, so making hot pasta all of sudden wasn’t that appealing.
In the end, I decided to make pasta salad using the kale dressing and throwing in some fresh ingredients I had at hand: tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese and some more kale.
And that turned out to be something fantastic. I made it again a couple of times and fed a lot of friends. They all raved about it. Talking about validation...
Kale Pasta Salad Print this recipe!
Note for vegans. In the kale dressing sub the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast. Skip the feta in the salad or sub it with vegan cheese.
½ lb / 8 oz / 226 gr whole wheat rotini pasta
2 cups chopped kale
½ cup black olive, drained and cut in half
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup crumbled Feta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped kale
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 small shallot, peeled
¼ cup Parmesan-Reggiano cheese, grated
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
Bring a large pot a salted water to a boil. Add garlic and shallot and boil for 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of kale and cook for another ten seconds. Don’t overcook. Working quickly, use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the kale, garlic and shallot from the water and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor.
Puree the ingredients, together with the Parmesan-Reggiano cheese and water (add more water to thin out if needed) until it reaches a creamy consistency.
Return water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions (al dente); drain into a colander and run under cold water for a couple of minutes to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat, add the remaining 2 cups of kale all at once and stir-fry until just wilted and tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, black olives, stir-fried kale and feta (if using).
Stir in the kale dressing and toss well. Taste and adjust with salt if needed.
You can serve this pasta salad immediately or you can also keep it in the fridge and serve it the next day.
One serving of this kale pasta salad scores about 200 calories, 6.3 grams of fat, 32 grams of carbs and 7.5 grams of protein.