Gluten Free Calamarata Pasta with Roasted Kale and Cashew Pesto

Friday, April 25, 2014

Soft tubes of calamarata pasta dressed with deliciously tangy roasted kale and cashew pesto and sprinkled with cheese make an excellent vegetarian dinner!
Make the roasted kale pesto, pasta and plate up in 30 minutes for a flavorful dinner!

Yield 2 to 4 servings

Calamarata Pasta with Roasted Kale and Cashew Pesto 

I've always had a love for cashews, but since being diagnosed as a coeliac, I've started eating more and more of them; now there's always a bag of cashews in the snack basket; perfect for nibbling or adding to dishes, like this roasted kale and cashew pesto:

Using oven roasted kale and salted cashews, this quick pesto is made in the food processor.

I'm still relatively new to pesto, only having it for the first time back in 2008. I had just moved to Manchester and was watching a friend, a French guy who lived in my flat, make dinner in the kitchen. He pulled this vibrant green sauce from the cupboard and generously spooned the sauce over his noodles, gave it a quick stir and then proceeded to eat! When he learned I'd never had pesto, had never even heard of it, he handed the fork over to me to try and oh my nom! I've been hooked on pesto ever since--both red and green. Coming up with my own unique pesto combinations is one of the greatest things about the sauce!
It's so versatile and easy to manipulate. You can literally throw anything at the food processor, follow the basic pesto making steps and come out with a winning sauce. Seriously, pesto is the novice cook's trump card. It can transform any dish: you can spread it on salads, stir it into pasta, serve it over chicken ... anything at all. Master this sauce and impress your friends and family with your cooking skills!

The pasta in this recipe isn't gluten free. I first received my complimentary grocery parcel from Nife is Life pre diagnosis. From the moment I saw the calamarata, I envisioned serving those delicious, soft tubes of pasta with chunky pesto. Even though I couldn't partake, I still made the dish and Callum and Wayne gave it a double thumbs up! You'll have to take their word for it that this is totally scrumptious. I can vouch for the pesto, though. It's gorgeous!

Homemade roasted kale and cashew pesto prepared in minutes flat in the food processor.


For the kale pesto

1/2 cup cashews, roasted and salted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional
2 slices Edam cheese
150g Cavolo Nero kale, tough stalks removed
garlic oil to taste

For the calamarata

400g gluten free calamarata pasta*
Edam cheese, shredded

  • I used Cavolo Nero, a dark variety of kale with a slightly sweet taste, but any variety will do.
  • I used Edam cheese in my pesto. Edam is a Dutch cheese with a slightly nutty flavor. If you cannot find it where you are, you could use Swiss or Emmental.
  • Nife is Life sent me the pasta for the purpose of creating a dish; I have not been compensated monetarily.

The slighty chunky texture of the kale and cashew pesto adds texture to a plate of soft pasta.


Calamarata Pasta with Roasted Kale and Cashew Pesto

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/400f.
  2. Wash the kale really well and remove the thick stem from the center. Tear the leaves into manageable-sized pieces and douse with the olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 to ensure the kale doesn't burn.
  3. Tear the Edam slices and place in a food processor with a knife blade attachment. Add the cashews to the food processor.
  4. Once the kale is roasted, allow to cool slightly, about a minute or two. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Salt the water once it is simmering and bring to the boil, then add the pasta and cook about 14 minutes.
  5. Add the kale to the food processor, fit the lid and pulse to break up big bits of kale, cheese and cashews. Once the pesto is a grainy consistency, switch the processor off of pulse and onto the lowest setting. While the machine continues to whirl, slowly drizzle in some garlic oil to form an emulsion. You will have added enough oil when the pesto starts to come together and looks moist.
  6. Taste, season with salt and pepper if necessary (this shouldn't be necessary because of the salted cashews, but taste to be sure). If you need to, add a few drops of lemon juice to freshen the pesto and help to emphasize the flavors.
  7. Decant the pesto into a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add to the pesto and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with shredded Edam and serve.

Enjoyed this recipe? You might like:
Easy Hazelnut Pesto

Southern Smothered Pork Chops with Mustard Mash & Kale Crisps

Kale & Wild Mushroom Vegetarian Carbonara

This plate of pasta and pesto is ready in just 30 minutes.


  1. I love pesto - so versatile (kale too for that matter)! This sounds like a fabulous version. Definitely have to make a note to try this combo.

  2. This sounds so good! I love Kale and the cashews are a great addition instead of pine nuts. Yum!

  3. I love pesto, and I'm always trying to find ways to use kale. It's one veggie my husband really loves. I just love your description of the pasta. Definitely going to try this one!

  4. Delish! I'm loving your kale pesto since I'm not a big fan of Basil pesto. I will be making this and I think I'll have grampy help me make some fresh pasta to go with it. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe.


  5. I love kale, and pesto too! This dish is gorgeous and vibrant in color. Definitely a must try for me! Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)

  6. Mhmm! this looks so yummy! I'll have to give this a try in my kitchen!

  7. What a brilliant idea! I'm going to try this tomorrow!

  8. This looks so delicious! I love pasta, kale and pesto! Gotta try it!

  9. This looks excellent. I too am a big fan of cashew nuts - their creamy taste must be excellent with the kale! x

  10. A dish that is packed full of flavour and yet simple enough to cook. I like that you roasted the kale and added it into the pesto mix. Yay for extra veggies!


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