Kale Aglio e Olio

Kale Aglio e Olio

Any Italian kid knows about aglio e olio (literally translates to garlic and oil). It’s my dad’s favorite kind of pasta and he made it every Friday night in my house growing up. It’s salty and garlicky, homey and comforting. And one of my personal favorite things to eat. When I was pregnant and craved my childhood comfort foods like this, I tried to give in to those cravings but add nutrients wherever I could.

That’s when I discovered the deliciousness of kale aglio e olio. It’s become a staple in my house ever since. I often make it with Banza spaghetti for extra protein, but it is much better with the real thing if we’re being honest here. Either way, it’s a tasty classic with an extra big dose of greens.

Kale Aglio e Olio Recipe

Serves 4, originally found here.


  • 3 large bunches of kale, any type
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • Salt & black pepper
  • 12 ounces spaghetti (or whatever type of pasta you like)
  • Grated parmesan (or Pecorino)
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (for serving)


1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, strip kale leaves from ribs and stems, and cut leaves into small pieces. Cook kale in boiling water until bright green and slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer kale to a colander and rinse under cold water, tossing; squeeze out excess liquid from leaves. Keep water at a boil (you’ll use it for the pasta).

2.  Whack garlic with the side of a chef’s knife to crush; peel off skins. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until sizzling, about 3 minutes. Season very generously with black pepper and cook, mashing with a wooden spoon, until cloves break into rough pieces, soften, and look golden. Add kale to pot and cook, stirring often, until darkened in color and very tender, about 8 minutes (garlic will break into even smaller pieces). Season with salt and pepper.

3.  Meanwhile, cook pasta, stirring occasionally, according to package directions. Be sure to save 2 cups of the cooking liquid if you’re using regular pasta.

4. Add pasta to the kale and splash in about 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing and adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed until sauce lightly coats pasta, about 2 minutes. If you’re using Banza or something without gluten, just do this with regular water.

5. Serve pasta topped with Parmesan, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and more black pepper.

6. Enjoy!

View all posts in: