Kale Pasta Salad
This Kale Pasta Salad has a lot of fried kale, tomatoes, olives, Feta, and pesto vinaigrette and only a moderate amount of pasta! This salad always had a lot of kale, olives, and tomatoes and only a moderate amount of pasta, but we’re updating the recipe to use Fiber Gourmet Light Rotini, for a pasta salad with only about 16 net carbs per serving.
This Kale Pasta Salad is a recipe I first made years ago with my nephew Jake, back in the days when I was a fan of whole wheat pasta. And Jake and I used lots of the other other ingredients and not too much pasta to make this a more carb-conscious dish.
Of course fast forward a few years and now I’m making this salad with Fiber Gourmet Light Rotini (affiliate link) for a much lower-carb version! You could even make it with noodles and use, or maybe even with Palmini Pasta (affiliate link) for a version with even fewer carbs. You can choose the version that works for your own way of eating.
The salad has with lots of fried kale, tomatoes, olives, and Feta, and this was such a delicious meatless pasta salad featuring fried kale! I’m recommending this to you for a meatless dinner or lunch idea, but it’s also great for a pasta salad side dish that’s loaded with great flavors. And whatever you do, don’t skip the step of frying the kale!
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Fiber Gourmet Light Rotini (affiliate link) or Palmini Pasta (affiliate link)
- salt (for pasta cooking water)
- kale leaves
- cherry tomatoes
- canned black olives
- crumbled Feta
- fresh-squeezed lemon juice, I used my fresh-frozen lemon juice
- white balsamic vinegar (affiliate link), or other mild white vinegar
- Basil Pesto (affiliate link)
- Olive Oil (affiliate link)
What pasta did we use for lower-carb Kale Pasta Salad?
I’m a huge fan of Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta from Italy, which is a wheat pasta with lots of added fiber to reduce the net carbs. Fiber Gourmet is also higher in protein, but tastes just like regular pasta. We used Fiber Gourmet Light Rotini (affiliate link) for this recipe, which comes in the 8 oz. package the recipe specifies. (And if you’ve been disappointed by other “low-carb” pastas, I can assure you that this Italian high-fiber pasta tastes great!)
More About Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta:
The biggest drawback to the Fiber Gourmet Light Pasta for many people will be the price. I haven’t found it in stores near me, so I buy it at Amazon where you can buy a package of 6 boxes and get it for $6.66 per box. (affiliate link). For me it’s such a treat to have “real” pasta without so many carbs that don’t mind buying six boxes at once. And since this recipe uses 4 servings of elbow macaroni to make 6 servings of salad, that also makes it more affordable.
Want an even lower-carb version of Kale Pasta Salad?
If you want a truly low-carb pasta salad, you could replace the pasta in this recipe with Palmini Pasta made from hearts of palm (affiliate link) and follow instructions in this recipe for cooking the pasta.
What if you’re not a fan of Feta?
If you’re not a Feta Cheese fan, use another cheese in this recipe like goat cheese, Parmesan, or even Mozzarella.
How to make Kale Pasta Salad:
(This is only a summary of the steps for the recipe; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water and then drain well. (Fiber Gourmet takes longer to cook than traditional pasta; about 15 minutes for me.)
- Mix lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, pesto, and olive oil to make the flavorful pesto dressing.
- Chop up the kale leaves and wash in a salad spinner (affiliate link) if needed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan with high sides, and add the kale pieces all at once.
- Stir-fry the kale, turning often, just until it’s wilted and slightly tender. This only takes 2-3 minutes.
- When the pasta is drained, stir about half the dressing into the still slightly-warm pasta. Let it sit while you cut up the olives and tomatoes and crumble the feta.
- Stir the fried kale into the pasta.
- Then gently stir in the tomatoes and olives.
- Add more dressing as needed, depending on how moist you like your salads.
- Finally, gently stir in the crumbled Feta, season the salad to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.
More Meatless Pasta Salad Recipes:
- 8 oz. Fiber Gourmet Light Rotini (or other curly pasta of your choice)
- 1 tsp. salt (for pasta cooking water)
- 8 oz. kale leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 T olive oil (for stir-frying the kale)
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- one 6 oz. can black olives, drained and cut in half
- 1/4 cup crumbled Feta (or more)
- 1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2 T white balsamic vinegar, or other mild white vinegar
- 3 T pesto (see notes)
- 2 T olive oil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add pasta, stir, and reduce heat to a low boil and cook for until pasta is al dente probably about 15 minutes for Fiber Gourmet pasta, but I would start to check after about 12 minutes. (Or cook pasta according to package directions if you’re using a different type of pasta.)
- Drain pasta into a colander placed in the sink and let it drain well.
- While the pasta cooks, chop up the kale leaves (cutting away the inner ribs if they’re large), and wash kale in a salad spinner (affiliate link) if needed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan with high sides, add the kale all at once, and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes until the kale has wilted and is starting to get tender. (It should still be a little chewy but not raw tasting.) Turn off pan and let the kale cool.
- Mix together the fresh-squeezed lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, and pesto, then whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing. (I used 3 T of pesto, but if you're not sure how much you like that flavor I'd start with 2 T pesto and then taste to see if you’d like to add the other tablespoon for more pesto flavor.)
- When the pasta has drained well but is still warm, transfer it to a bowl and stir in about half the dressing.
- Let the pasta sit while you cut cherry tomatoes and olives and crumble the feta.
- Stir the cooled kale into the pasta in the bowl.
- Add the tomatoes and olives and gently combine; then add more dressing as desired (depending on how moist you like your salads.) If you don’t use all the dressing save it for drizzling over tomatoes or to perk up any leftover salad.
- Gently stir in the crumbled Feta, season salad to taste with salt and fresh-ground black pepper, and serve.
- I usually don’t like to refrigerate salads with tomatoes, but this was still quite good the second day.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3.1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11.6gCholesterol: 7.5mgSodium: 771mgCarbohydrates: 34.1gFiber: 18gSugar: 2.9gProtein: 10g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
The original Kale Pasta Salad made with whole wheat pasta would be approved for Phase 2 or 3 of the original South Beach Diet. The salad made with Fiber Gourmet Light Rotini has about 16 net carbs per serving, and 10 grams of protein!
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Salad Recipes to find more recipes like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
Historical Notes for this Recipe:
This pasta salad with kale, tomatoes, olives, and Feta was first posted in 2012. It was last updated with options for a lower-carb or low-carb version of the salad in 2023.