Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

Makes about 2 cups – which is a lot


2 cups kale with the ribs removed

2 cups organic spinach

2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

1/4 cup cashews (or almonds or pistachios or walnuts or pecans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water




Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1 minute & then drain & put into cold water.  When it is cool enough, squeeze the water out & pulse it in a food processor a few times.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan – agitating them so they do not burn – for a few minutes or until they start to brown a bit & smell fragrant.  Do not burn them or the pesto will be bitter.  Pulse them into the Kale.

Add all the other ingredients & pulse until smooth.  You might need to add more or less water to get the desired consistency – which should be thick but smooth.  Season with S&P.

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This is a pretty healthy pasta salad.  No mayo & lots of veggies.  I used some leftover kale & spinach pesto that I had frozen but any pesto will do.  I added some feta cheese to mine because I had some leftover from Blue Apron meals I never prepared but there was not a lot & it certainly was not critical to the dish so – if you are vegan – simply omit it.

The amounts you add of each thing is really a personal preference but here is how I did it.

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or not)

Feeds a lot as a side dish maybe 10-15 people


1 1/2 lbs pasta – cooked, drained & cooled

1 small red onion – diced

2 large avocados – cubed

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 green bell pepper – diced

10 oz of cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup pesto (more or less – according to taste)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (more or less acording to taste) – OPTIONAL – omit if you are vegan


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Mix it all up & season with S&P.

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