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This kale pasta salad recipe is a great option when you’re looking for a lighter pasta salad for summer! It’s got a delicious vinaigrette dressing, and it’s loaded with fresh ingredients. 

close-up of healthy kale pasta salad

This recipe originally appeared on The Recipe Critic. I contribute one recipe per month to Alyssa’s blog. 

I’m all for a variety of pasta salads. Ones with creamy dressings like my creamy tuna pasta salad or this Cajun pasta salad are great, but I also prefer ones that are less heavy on the mayo like my easy Greek pasta salad or chicken pesto pasta salad

kale pasta salad in two small white bowls

The ingredient that makes the dressing in this salad taste so good is freshly grated parmesan cheese. I grated it very finely, and it integrates perfectly with the other ingredients. I mean, you can’t go wrong with salami either… I wouldn’t leave it out of this pasta salad. 😉 

How to make kale pasta salad

  1. Cook the pasta and then rinse it with cool water and drain it thoroughly.
  2. Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients and add them to a large salad bowl.
  3. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar and shake it thoroughly.
  4. Toss the pasta salad, and you can either enjoy it right away or let it chill first.

cold kale pasta salad in glass prep bowl

A few recipe tips:

  • I used a whole salami and cut it up myself. Anything around 8 ounces will work fine – you don’t need to be exact.
  • Feel free to use whatever color bell pepper you prefer.
  • Sometimes recipes will say that kale needs to be massaged (it’s naturally quite tough), but I find it’s easier to simply remove the leaves from the stems and then chop the kale finely. This is how I prepare most of my kale salads. The salad dressing will also help soften the kale up a bit.
  • You can make this pasta salad ahead if you wish. It is best freshly made (in my opinion), but the kale won’t go soggy like lettuce does. We were still enjoying the leftovers three days later.
  • If the dressing is not enough/too tangy, do adjust the oil/vinegar quantities to get the taste you’re looking for.

Love kale? Try my baby kale salad with lemon dressing and parmesan croutons.

I hope you’re having a great summer so far! The weather’s not been so great (soo much rain) in my neck of the woods, but at least I got to enjoy nice sunny weather on my trip to Denver. If you’re into following the girl behind the blog, I do post behind-the-scenes real life snippets on my stories on Instagram. 🙂

kale pasta salad in a serving bowl

Will you make this kale pasta salad?

Questions? Ask me in the comments below.

close-up of healthy kale pasta salad
5 from 3 votes

Kale Pasta Salad

This kale pasta salad recipe is a great option when you're looking for a lighter pasta salad for summer! It's got a delicious vinaigrette dressing, and it's loaded with fresh ingredients. 
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 3 cups uncooked penne
  • 8 ounces salami diced
  • 1 cup little tomatoes (grape, cherry, etc.) halved
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cups (packed) kale stems removed and chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup red onion or to taste
  • Salt & pepper (to taste) to taste


  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon (packed) brown sugar


  • Boil a large, salted pot of water for the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Once the pasta is done, rinse it under cool water and let it drain thoroughly.
  • Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients and add them to a large salad bowl as you go along. The kale should be removed from the stems and chopped very finely. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar.
  • Once the pasta is done, add it to the bowl. Shake the dressing thoroughly and toss the salad until coated. Season the pasta salad with salt & pepper as needed. You can eat it right away or chill it for an hour or so prior to eating.


  • Serves 6+ depending on how much people eat.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

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  1. Julie says:

    Miss Salt & Lavender… your salad looks absolutely lovely; but do people STILL eat salami in 2020?
    Seriously, it is processed (known to be cancer causing) and loaded with animal fat; the kind of fat that clogs the arteries, causes high cholesterol, followed by heart attacks and strokes.
    I’m very curious – are you in the U.S..?
    If so – what part of the country are you living in?

    Still – enjoy! I am sure it tastes great.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi Julie! I eat a bit of everything that I like in moderation. 😊 There are far worse things one can be eating than salami. 😂 I’m in Canada! Of course people still eat salami… have you seen the popularity of charcuterie these days?

  2. Natasha's Sister says:

    5 stars
    You’re going to make this for me without salami, right?

    1. Natasha says: