RecipeKale-Pesto Macaroni Salad

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
  • Calories: 230
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Total Fat: 6.5 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 5.5 g
    • Saturated Fat: 1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate: 38 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 8 g
  • Total Sugar: 1 g
    • Natural Sugar: 1 g
    • Added Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 100 mg

I decided to go green in this out-of-the-box mac salad. Here’s why: kale is a leafy multivitamin, providing more than 200 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin A, and more than 100 percent for vitamin C in just one chopped cup. It also delivers two key antioxidants that promote eye health: lutein and zeaxanthin. Incorporated into a luxurious pesto tossed with whole-grain macaroni, it plays double duty, by upgrading any backyard BBQ and showering your body with green goodness.

This recipe comes from my new book, Joy Bauer’s Superfood! To learn more, click here.

  • Prep time
  • Total Time
This recipe makes 8 cups with plenty leftover pesto sauce
  • • 1 pound whole-grain elbow macaroni
  • • 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • • ¼ cup blanched, toasted almond slivers*
  • • ¾ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • • Pinch black pepper 
  • • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • • 4 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves
  • • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

*You may swap in pine nuts or walnuts.


Cook the macaroni according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.

FOR THE PESTO: Place the garlic, almonds, salt, pepper, cheese, lemon juice, kale, and basil in a food processor or blender and pulse until the greens are finely chopped. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water and scrape down the sides. Drizzle in the oil while you continue to pulse until everything is evenly blended. Toss in a small ice cube while blending to maintain a bright green color. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Toss the kale pesto with cooked whole grain pasta (about 1 tablespoon pesto for 1 cup cooked macaroni).

Toss the pesto with cooked pasta (about 1 tablespoon pesto for 1 cup cooked macaroni). Serve chilled or at room temperature.

NOTE: You’ll have plenty leftover pesto; store in a sealed jar with a thin layer of olive oil on top to prevent it from turning brown.

Nutrition provided for 1 cup pesto macaroni.

Try my Chicken Parm Meatballs and Penne alla Vodka!