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Winter Greens Pasta Sauce

Updated: Jan 25, 2022

This vegan pasta sauce is a silky, brightly colored sauce made with winter greens, garlic, lemon, and nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavour.

Winter Greens Pasta Sauce

Serves: 4 Time: 30 min


  • 2 bunches of Swiss chard and cabbage greens

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 large garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste, plus more for cooking pasta

  • 300g dry pasta like rigatoni or orecchiette

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish)

  • pine nuts (optional for garnish)


Directions should always be short and to the point.

1. Prep the greens.

Bring a large pot of water up to a boil.

Rinse the greens well and shake them over the sink to dry a bit. Place a leaf flat on a cutting board, and run a sharp knife along either side of the stem from top to bottom, removing the stem and leaving the green leaf in two long pieces. Repeat with the remaining leaves, cutting the extra-large pieces crosswise into smaller pieces.

2. Cook the garlic:

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the garlic. Cook on one side until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Flip over the garlic and add the red pepper flakes. Cook until the garlic is light brown on the other side, 2 to 3 more minutes.

Scrape the garlic, pepper flakes, and the oil into a blender to cool a bit.

3. Cook the greens:

When the water boils, generously season it with salt. Add the prepared greens, pushing them down with tongs to submerge into the water.

Boil until wilted and dark green, 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to retrieve the greens without draining the pot. Transfer them to a strainer to cool and drain.

Leave the water boiling in the pot. You’ll use it to cook the pasta.

4. Cook the pasta:

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to the package directions. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.

5. Make the sauce:

Add the cooked greens, 1/2 teaspoon salt, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and 1/4 cup pasta water to the blender with the garlic and chili oil.

Keep the lid of the blender slightly ajar and cover it with a kitchen towel. Blend until smooth and silky, adding more pasta water a tablespoon at a time if needed. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

6. Assemble the pasta:

Return the pasta to the pot and top with the sauce. If using cheese instead of nutritional yeast, this is when you would add the Parmesan cheese and toss to coat until the cheese melts.

Add the reserved pasta water, a splash at a time, to achieve a silky consistency. It should effortlessly coat the noodles.

The sauce will continue to firm up, so make it slightly looser than you’d like it. You’ll most likely end up using between 1/4 to 2/3 cup of pasta water.

7. Serve:

Divide into individual servings and garnish some extra chili flakes, freshly cracked black pepper, and some pine nuts. Can substitute for some Parmesan if using cheese instead of nutritional yeast.

Hope you all enjoy this simple and delicious take on a pesto sauce using seasonal and local greens.

Buon Appetito!


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