Kale Pasta with Kale Flowers in a Garlic-Infused Tomato Sauce

I’ve been meaning to make pasta with kale flowers for a while now, but I finally did it! 

Kale is by far the most successful plant in our garden. It’s literally towering over everything right now and is at least 6 feet tall. But this year, our lovely Portuguese kale went to flower a little sooner than usual. I think it’s because we had so much rain that made the kale so healthy and happy that it decided to send off its seeds to our garden. That’s totally fine with me!

So instead of just yanking out the plants, we’re used them in pasta. The end result? Nutritious and delicious! Like other edible flowers, I imagine these would be great in a salad, soup, or even as a cocktail garnish.

I initially intended to use the flowers when they were first produced because they look a lot like broccoli raab early on. As they mature, there’s less raab and more flower. You can use raab-like kale flowers in this recipe if you prefer and use less kale leaves or none at all. But I really enjoyed taking advantage of the beautiful yellow flowers because they added a really nice texture to the dish.

I couldn’t find the specific nutrition facts of kale flowers online, but many other edible flowers are high in vitamin C and vitamin A. Plus, it makes sense that at least some of the benefits of kale, like its antioxidant content, would transfer to the flowers as well, right?

Kale Pasta with Kale Flowers in a Garlic-Infused Tomato Sauce

Time: 25 Minutes
Serves 4

12 oz dried casarecce pasta
1 medium bunch kale, coarsely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/3 cup garlic stuffed green olives, halved, garlic cloves chopped
1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
4 anchovies, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup packed kale flowers, stemmed
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/3 cup parmesan cheese

To Garnish
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1/4 kale flowers

Bring a large pot of boiling salted water to a boil. Add pasta and boil for 5 minutes. Add kale and continue cooking until pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes longer. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

In a medium skillet, add olive oil, fresh garlic, and cured garlic cloves over medium-high heat. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, green olives, and anchovies and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Add kale flowers and cook gently stirring for 1 minute. 

Return pasta to the pot over medium high heat and add the tomato sauce. Stir to combine and add parsley and parmesan cheese. Cook until flavors meld, about 3 minutes. Serve on plates and garnish with parmesan cheese, parsley, and kale flowers.