Weeknight Dinner: Miso Pesto with Kale Salad, Currants and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  Weeknight Dinner: Miso Pesto with Kale Salad, Currants and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

My husband has become the one pan pasta king in our kitchen commune.  He’s great at improvising and whips up some version of this dish every week. Miso paste and NYC (my new acronym for nutritional yeast cheese because let’s face it that doesn’t sound sexy) are key ingredients that make this vegan pesto absolutely delicious. Good enough to win over the hearts of any skeptics out there. We sauté and toss in whatever else is on hand like mushrooms, spinach, onions, asparagus, tempeh or other leftover roasted veggies from the night before.  

I’ve also rediscovered massaged kale and have been making big batches of it that last for days. It’s much easier to eat raw this way and holds up really nicely in the fridge unlike regular dressed salad. The currants compliment the pesto so much that I’m thinking of adding them to the sauce next time straight up.




Miso Pesto with Kale Salad, Currants and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Vegan, Gluten Free

Serves 4


  • 1 cup or large handful of basil

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • ¼ cup of walnuts

  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast

  • 2 teaspoons of chickpea miso paste or miso paste of your choice

  • ½ cup of olive oil

  • Lentil pasta or pasta of your choice

  • salt & pepper to taste



  • 1 bunch of asparagus (please substitute whatever veggie you have here and sauté or roast if necessary. You can roast a sheet pan of broccoli & cauliflower florets, or cubed squash at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Make sure to season with olive oil, salt, and pepper)


Kale Salad

  •  2 bunches of lacinato kale 

  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion

  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

  • ¼ currants

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar

  • salt & pepper to taste


Method for Pesto

Combine the basil, garlic cloves, walnuts, nutritional yeast, and miso paste in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a course crumble is formed. While the motor is running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Adjust consistency if necessary. Set aside.

Snap off and discard the tough woody ends of the asparagus.  Roughly chop them at an angle leaving the tips whole.  Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add a slick of olive oil.  Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for only a few minutes until browned and tender. Turn the heat off and set aside.

When the pasta is cooked according to package instructions or slightly al dente, grab a mug and reserve some of the water before you drain it. Drain the pasta and return it to the sauté pan with the asparagus.  Add the pesto and toss. Use some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce if need be. 

Method for Kale Salad

Heat a small skillet and lightly dry toast the pumpkin seeds until they are golden brown.

Pull the leaves off of the stems of the kale. Tear them into pieces and give them a good wash and dry in a salad spinner if you have one.  Place in a large bowl, add the olive oil, red onion, and massage for 3-5 minutes. It will reduce down by about half. Stir in the currants, pumpkin seeds, and balsamic vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste.