Macaroni with Greens, Lemon, and Parmesan
Macaroni with Greens, Lemon, and Parmesan has amazing flavor going on for a meatless dinner idea; if you want less carbs, use more greens and less macaroni.
Through the years I’ve tried quite a few recipes that featured some combination of pasta and greens, and I don’t think it’s any secret that kale is probably my favorite leafy green. So while I was a little ambivalent about the mustard greens I used when I first created this recipe, this time I absolutely swooned over the dish with Ready-to-use Organic Mixed Baby Kale.
Macaroni with Greens, Lemon, and Parmesan is a different take on the usual pasta/greens combo, in particular because of the way the generous amount of lemon zest accents the flavor of the kale. If you’re not a fan of kale, collard greens or swiss chard would also taste good in this dish. And for a lower-carb version just use a lot more greens and less pasta.
This recipe could certainly make a great veggie and pasta side dish (and maybe you can tell your kids that it’s Macaroni and Cheese with Kale!) But truthfully, for a Meatless Monday dinner I would happily eat a big bowl of this with a nice green salad on the side.
How to Make Macaroni with Greens, Lemon, and Parmesan:
(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)
- Start cooking the pasta in salted water; then zest two large lemons, and then squeeze the juice. (You will only need 1 tablespoon of juice for this recipe, but just freeze the extra lemon juice.)
- If you’re using larger greens you’ll need to chop them up but with the Ready-to-use Organic Mixed Baby Kale, we just washed it in the salad spinner.
- Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan; then add the garlic and lemon zest and saute 1 minute.
- Add the greens and cook until they’re wilted. This will take just 2-3 minutes for baby greens and about 5 minutes for larger chopped greens.
- Drain the pasta, saving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Add the hot pasta, lemon juice, and reserved pasta cooking water to the pan.
- Turn off heat and mix in the Parmesan cheese and serve hot.
More Vegetarian Recipes with Kale:
- 2 cups (dry) Macaroni (see notes)
- 1 tsp. salt for pasta cooking water
- 1 bunch greens such as kale, collards, mustard greens, or swiss chard (see notes)
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- zest from 2 lemons
- 1 T lemon juice (I would freeze the extra juice to use later)
- 2 T olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- Cook Macaroni in a large pot of salted water until barely al dente (about 8-9 minutes, but follow cooking time on the package of pasta).
- Reserve 1/4 cup cooking water before draining.
- While pasta cooks, zest the lemons and squeeze the juice and finely chop the garlic.
- Save 1 tablespoon of juice for this recipe and store or freeze the rest.
- Wash greens in a salad spinner and spin dry.
- If using larger greens, slice crosswise into 1 inch wide ribbons, discarding stems. (Baby greens don’t need to be sliced.)
- Heat olive oil in large frying pan, add garlic and lemon zest and saute 1 minute.
- Add greens and saute until wilted, about 5 minutes for larger greens or 2-3 minutes for baby greens.
- As soon as pasta is al dente, save 1/4 cup cooking water and then drain the pasta well and add to greens/garlic/lemon mixture, with lemon juice and reserved pasta cooking water (as needed.)
- Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve hot, with additional cheese to be added at the table if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 914mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 8gSugar: 3gProtein: 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 Suggestions:
Made with reduced-carb or whole wheat pasta, this Macaroni with Greens, Lemon, and Parmesan would be a great dish for phase 2 or 3 of the original South Beach Diet. It’s too high in carbs for a low-carb diet plan, but you could use less pasta and a lot more greens if you want a lower-carb version.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Leafy Greens or Pasta to find more recipes like this one. Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you’re a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
Historical Notes for This Recipe:
Macaroni with Greens, Lemon, and Parmesan was first posted in 2006; the recipe was last updated July 2020.