Kale Carbonara

When it seems like the fridge and your inspiration to cook is bare, this easy + cozy pasta is there.

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Season: Fall, Winter
Dosha: Vata

Lately, when both the fridge and my inspiration for cooking dinner seem sparse, this ridiculously easy and comforting Kale Carbonara is there.

The ingredients are *almost* always in the fridge; a nub of parmesan, a couple of eggs, one last bunch of kale that I haven’t employed yet, a little dollop of miso and just enough pasta for the two of us to get the job done.

Most carbonara recipes call for pancetta sauteéd before you stir in the sauce, and it makes for a rich, hearty bowl. But in this case (vegetarians rejoice!) miso stands in for the umami flavor and gives the bowl plenty of body and flavor bursts, without the meat.



Recipe Notes

  • On pasta: I highly recommend using an heirloom grain pasta here. I love the rigatoni from our local pasta maker, Pastificio. 
  • On greens: if you don’t have kale on hand, chard or spinach will stand in just fine.

Flavor Notes

Flavors are FUN, yes, but they also are the mechanisms by which our bodies nourish themselves. Flavors basically tell our bodies what the food is giving us – on a nutritional and energetic level. Our bodies then prepare enzymes to break those components down, assimilate them, and turn them into fuel for our vibrant lives. We can’t eat just one flavor and get all of the things we need, so learning to track the flavors in our foods helps us to be sure that we’re really getting all of the things we need in our meals. This particular recipe has four of six flavors. The more flavors we can enjoy in any meal or food, the happier and more balanced our bodies will be. If you’re wanting to learn more about how the flavors we eat fuel our bodies – energetically and nutritively, check out this little blog post.

  • SWEET: pasta, eggs, parmesan
  • SALTY: kosher salt
  • SOUR: N/A
  • BITTER: kale
  • ASTRINGENT: walnuts
  • PUNGENT: black pepper, smoked red pepper

Kale Carbonara

When it seems like the fridge and your inspiration to cook is bare, this easy + cozy pasta is there.

serves 2 as a main course


Active Time: 25 minutes


Serves: hearty bowl


  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (de-stemmed and chopped finely)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 2 oz fresh parmesan
  • 1 whole large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp ghee (or extra virgin olive oil )
  • 8 oz rigatoni (or favorite whole grain dry pasta shapes)

to serve:


  • 1Boil your water + prep

    Heat 6 qt. water in a large pot over high. When water starts to steam, add 3 Tbsp. salt and cover pot with a lid (this will bring water to a boil faster).

    Finely grate 2 oz. cheese and set aside one-quarter of cheese for later.

    Whisk 2 egg yolks and 1 whole eggs in a medium bowl until no streaks remain, then stir in remaining grated cheese. Add several cranks of pepper and set aside.

  • 2Boil your pasta.

    Cook 8 oz pasta in boiling water, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes shy of package instructions. Just before the pasta is finished, scoop out 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid with the same heatproof measuring cup.

    Drain the pasta in a colander and set aside.

  • 3Sauté your kale

    In a large, deep skillet or dutch oven, add 2 Tbsp of the ghee or olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add the kale, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the kale wilts. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water and the miso paste and simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, 2-3 minutes. Then, remove from heat.

    Meanwhile, whisk ¼ cup reserved pasta water into egg mixture.

  • 4Finish your pasta.

    Add the drained pasta to the kale-miso mixture, then very slowly stream the egg and cheese mixture in stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and egg is thickened to form a glossy sauce. Season with salt, if needed. Thin sauce with remaining pasta cooking liquid if needed, adding a tablespoonful at a time, until it’s the consistency of heavy cream (you most likely won’t use all of it).


  • 5Serve it up!

    Divide the pasta between two bowls, topping with freshly ground black pepper, reserved cheese and smoked red pepper, breadcrumbs and sprouted walnuts if you wish.

    Enjoy immediately!

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