Peasant Pasta with Kale, Potatoes & String Beans

Is there such a thing as too many carbohydrates in a meal?  Yes and no.  This is a good carbohydrate meal.  I've mixed whole wheat pasta with Yukon Gold Potatoes and green beans and added blanched  kale to counter act the carbo-overload.  I'm not sure why we call this Peasant Pasta - but Liz named this dish years ago when we used to toss pasta, potatoes and green beans together, with a lot of olive oil and cheese.  Maybe we gave it that moniker because it was cheap and filling and we felt like peasants making do with whatever food we had in the kitchen.  However this name and the recipe came to be, it's now evolved into a somewhat healthier yet still hearty dish.  It's good all seasons as you can eat it hot or cold.  This is also a great dish to utilize left-overs.  I had Yukon Gold potatoes already cooked from a previous meal, basil oil/pesto made from a batch of basil from the garden.  The green beans can be cooked in the pasta water and the kale can be blanched in the pasta water too.  The pasta dish is very filling and can be a main course, a side dish served with grilled or sauteed chicken or fish or served cold as a pasta salad.

Peasant Pasta Ingredients:
  • 1/2 Package of Whole Wheat Shaped Pasta - such as Fussili or Penne
  • 6 Small/Medium Yukon Gold or other Small New Potatoes (Red Bliss, White, Fingerling, Purple) - scrubbed clean but keep whole
  • 1/2 Pound Green Beans - Cleaned & Trimmed
  • 1 Bunch Kale - Stripped of Tough Stems, cleaned and torn into smaller pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Small/Medium Onion - about 1 cup - Small Dice
  • 2 Garlic Cloves - minced
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1/4 Cup Pesto or Basil Oil (see recipe here for making your own pesto)
  • 1 Cup Pasta Cooking Water - reserved after pasta is cooked
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • Grated Cheese for serving - such as Parmesan, Locatelli or Pecorino 

  1. Add the potatoes to a large pot of cold water and season generously with salt.  Bring the water to a boil and cook the potatoes until they are knife tender.  When the potatoes are done, remove them and set aside.  Once they are cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters.
  2. In the same pot, cook the pasta according to package directions - al dente, about 10 to 13 minutes.  About 5 minutes before the pasta is done, add in the green beans to cook.  After 3 minutes more, add in the kale to blanch.  You will have the pasta, green beans and kale all in the same pot.  Before draining the pot, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and set it aside.  Drain the pasta/green beans and kale and add back to the pot; add the cooked and quartered potatoes to this mixture and set aside; keep the mixture warm.
  3. In a small sauté pan, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers.  Add in the diced onion and minced garlic and saute for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions begin to take on a hint of color.  Add in the red pepper flakes and sauté another 30 seconds.  Add the  sautéed and garlic to the pasta mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Toss in the juice and zest of the lemon, the pesto or basil oil and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more ground pepper, lemon juice or even a dash of balsamic vinegar to pump up the flavors.  Use some of the reserved pasta water to create a sauce and thin the pesto. Stir to incorporate throughout the pasta.
  5. Serve with grated cheese.  Serves 4 to 6.  Keeps for up to 3 days in a tightly covered container in the refrigerated.


  1. So glad you found my blog! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I agree - the demonetization of carbs is terrible. Real food in moderation is the way to go. Of course, eating complex carbs are better for the body - eat them as close to the way nature intended! The pasta dish definitely benefited from the addition of the Kale and it utilized one of my farm-share veggies!
    My pesto was simply some of my basil oil and the basil puree that's its by-product. Couldn't be simpler - and I just posted the recipe for basil oil a few posts above this one.
    Hope you enjoy my other recipes and will comment again.


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