Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

My Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds is a winner, winner, pasta dinner! Or lunch, or breakfast for that matter!

It's such a simple combination of ingredients that deliver an unbelievable taste that's so surprising from an often underrated vegetable.

What's in a name?

Cavolo Nero is the Italian name, but this cabbage goes under other pseudonyms, such as Tuscan Cabbage, Tuscan Kale, Lacinato Kale, Italian kale, Dinosaur Kale, Flat Back kale, Palm Tree Kale,  Black Tuscan palm or just plain old Kale. It's utterly exhausting! I just go by its Italian name - Cavolo Nero! Basically, just go for the cabbage with the long, dark green stems and call it a day.

A vibrant green spaghetti recipe

This dish is a kind of pesto dish, replacing the traditional basil and pine nut pesto with a Cavolo Nero and almond pesto. As dark as the cavalo nero leaves are, when they're pureed and blended with the spaghetti they create a beautiful bright green pasta sauce.

But it's not all about looks... you'll be blown away by the flavour too. Earthy, delicate and incredible! One of the most delicious sauces I make for pasta - seriously, it's THAT good. And as you'll see below in the video, it's super simple it is to make at home. For this pesto I use regular dried spaghetti or sometimes dried penne.  And if i'm feeling a bit fancy, I'll fry a slice of proscuitto and crumble it on top for a bit of added flavour and texture.

This sauce also works well with fresh egg pasta. A simple fettucini or papardelle or spaghetti noodle works well, if you want to impress yourself or guests even more. Learn how I make fresh egg pasta.

How to make my Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds

Spaghetti with Cavolo Nero & Almonds
Spaghetti with Cavalo Nero & Almonds
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course:Main Course
Keyword:Cabbage, Nuts, Pasta, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Calories: 233kcal

Video Recipe


  • 1 bunch Cavalo Nero
  • 1/3 cup slithered almonds
  • 1 large clove garlic (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 packet of spaghetti


  • Fill a large pan with water, season with a little salt and set over a medium/high heat to come to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, strip the cabbage leaves from the stems. Discard the stems and chop the leaves into large pieces.
  • When the water boils, tip in the cabbage, almonds and garlic. Press down into the water then let them simmer gently for 6-7 minutes. Drain into a colander, retaining the cooking liquid.
  • Put the cabbage mix into a food processor along with the olive oil, butter and cheese - you can also use a stick blender to save the mess. Season with plenty of salt & pepper, then blend until you have a smooth puree. Add a little of the cooking liquid to loosen the mix slightly.
  • Cook your spaghetti to the packet instructions in a large pan of salted water. When done, drain and tip into a large pan alongside the cabbage. Toss thoroughly to coat.
  • I always add a spoonful or two of the pasta cooking water as the pasta will always soak up more liquid than you think, and I think we can all agree that a dry pasta is never fun. Portion into bowls, then dust generously with more Parmigiano Reggiano and you're good to go!


Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti with Cavalo Nero & Almonds
Amount Per Serving
Calories 233 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 13mg4%
Sodium 137mg6%
Potassium 73mg2%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 429IU9%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 124mg12%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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