Macaroni With Kale and White Beans

"This delicious vegetarian meal is packed with nutrients. If you've never tried kale, this is a good recipe to try! Kale tastes similar to spinach but retains its leafy texture. From Jeanne Lemlin's "Main Course Vegetarian Pleasures.""
photo by VeggieHeather photo by VeggieHeather
photo by VeggieHeather
photo by Jostlori photo by Jostlori
Ready In:




  • Cook macaroni according to directions, making sure to not overcook.
  • Rip kale off its stem into bite-sized pieces. (Be sure not to use the stem, as it is quite bitter. I've tried cutting it, but it works better to rip it).
  • Rinse kale in a large bowl of cold water and drain.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or stockpot (you will need a lid later).
  • Add garlic and red pepper, cooking over med-high heat for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in kale and broth and cover pan, stirring occasionally, until kale is wilted but bright green and tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Gently stir in salt, followed by beans, macaroni, and Parmesan. (Do not use canned parmesan, as it really will not taste right. Use the "real" grated parmesan!).

Questions & Replies

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  1. I love this stuff. I have eaten the leftovers from this for my last 3 meals, and I'm still not tired of eating it. I used vegetable broth and pene pasta, and I also added an additional 1/3 cup liquid at the end to keep it from being too dry. I used the cooking water from the pasta as this liquid. Aside from that, I followed the recipe exactly and I think it has the perfect amount of seasonings.
  2. I love this recipe. I've made it twice in the past 2 weeks. First time I misread and used 3 cups veg. broth. Result was too much liquid (used a slotted spoon to serve) but tons of flavor. Second time I used the correct amount and it wasn't as flavorful. My suggestion? 1 cup veg broth. Simple, fresh and delicious weeknight dinner!
  3. I also used Barilla Plus Penne vs. macaroni. I liked how the beans disintegrate a little bit in the mix, making the whole dish smoother. This has a great flavor despite only using a little salt and a little oil. I've started adding a small amount of feta to the dish in addition to the parmesan. love it!
  4. I'm growing kale in my garden this year and also get a CSA share that sometimes delivers kale. This was a great dish that can work either as a side or as a main dish. I added a little chopped chicken and we ate it with a salad as our main dish. My husband reallly liked it - and he's quite suspicious of new dishes using unusual vegetables he assumes he doesn't like. We've made it twice now - like it with the chicken added best.
  5. This was a really nice, quick and healthy meal. I was out of cannellini beans so I used kidney beans as a substitute. Not only did they work out as far as taste but they looked beautiful. After eating the first few bites, I felt like the flavors seemed a little flat so I topped my serving with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and that brightened it up just enough for me. I can see how this recipe could be really flexible as far as add-ins. Thanks for posting.


  1. This is so good. Following the advice of another reviewer I added some feta cheese. The second time I made it I used spinach instead of kale, which was delicious. Thanks!
  2. Very nice! I used spaghetti instead of macaroni and pinto beans because I was out of cannellini. I also added a thinly sliced carrot and topped it off with some spaghetti sauce ( my husband won't eat pasta without sauce). I think next time I'm going to add some carmelized onions.
  3. I made my dinner based on this recipe tonight. I used whole grain rotini as the pasta and used vegetable broth and added a Greek twist with some chopped kalamatas, 2 chopped tomatoes and used Kefalograviera instead of Parmesan. Yum!


<p>I'm a stay-at home mom to two growing boys and 2 active Giant schnauzers. <br /> <br />My favorite things are reading, doing arts and crafts, eating, and genealogy. (Guess which ones I don't have time for, now that I have kids!) <br /> <br />My pet peeve is spending hours on a recipe to have it turn our horrible--- I've learned not to bother with recipes that feature ingredients I don't like, because I'll never like them!</p>
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