Kale, tomato and lemon zest one-pot spaghetti

Today is the day! My 2nd book A Modern Way to Cook is out! I can’t quite believe my luck or wipe the smile off my face. It’s packed full of food I love and lots of amazing people helped me make it.

To celebrate, here is one of my favourite recipes from it. Check out my instagram for a little video of me showing how easy it is to whip it up.


This pasta is a complete revelation. The sauce is made from the pasta water and tomatoes and the pasta cooks all in one pan. No fuss, one pan and a killer bowl of pasta.

Pasta and gluten have had a bad write-up. Recently, though, they have come on in leaps and bounds and I opt for interesting pastas as often as I do the traditional kind. Try corn, chickpea or buckwheat spaghetti – they all have incredible individual flavours and make a welcome change if pasta is a staple in your house.

The key to this recipe is to measure your water carefully and to use the right pan: you need 
a shallow sauté pan or a casserole large enough to fit the pasta lying down, but not too deep.



400g spaghetti or linguine
400g cherry tomatoes
the zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
100ml olive oil
2 heaped teaspoons sea salt (if you are using fine-grain table salt, add a bit less)
1 x 400g bag of kale or spinach
Parmesan cheese (I use a vegetarian one) (optional)

Fill and boil a kettle and get all your ingredients and equipment together. You need a large shallow pan with a lid.

Put the pasta into the pan. Quickly and roughly chop the tomatoes in half and throw them into the pan. Grate in the zest of both of the lemons and add the oil and salt. Add 1 litre of boiling water, put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil, then remove the lid and simmer on a high heat for 6 minutes, using a pair of tongs to turn the pasta every 30 seconds or so as it cooks.

Meanwhile, remove any tough stalks from the kale and shred the leaves. Once the pasta has had 6 minutes, add the shredded kale and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once almost all the water has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and divide between four bowls.
If you like, top with a little Parmesan.

Image: Matt Russell

Posted: 16.07.15 39 Comments


Posted by valentina | sweet kabocha at 11:29 on the 20.07.15

Congrats!!! Btw, we call it “pasta risottata”, since it’s prepared in the same way we cook a risotto ^_^

Posted by Becky at 12:15 on the 20.07.15

Great method idea.
Why so much salt tho?

Posted by Anna at 8:56 on the 27.07.15

Hi Becky. Pasta water usually takes quite a lot of salting but please feel free to adjust to taste. AJ x

Posted by Lynn norton at 9:23 on the 21.07.15

Your books are brilliant for simple easy vegan recipes that even meat eaters like. Ideal as I have to cook for both. The potato, shallot and tomato bake in your 1st book has become a staple in our house and I think your crusty red pepper bake is also set to become another one. Well done -your recipes work.

Posted by Nicola at 10:20 on the 22.07.15

This tastes amazing, my whole family loved it. I can’t believe how simple it is either. Love the new book Anna, I’m looking forward to cooking my way through it.

Posted by Celia at 9:42 on the 29.07.15

Enjoyed meeting you at Toppings yesterday evening – your recipes are so inspiring – tried the courgetti with pistachio green herbs and ricotta this evening – just delicious. I expect you were glad to get back to a proper kitchen – but Toppings were lovely hosts – I shall certainly return. It was agreed in the queue that your chilli recipe is tip top! Thanks for making food more interesting.

Posted by Anna at 8:18 on the 30.07.15

Thanks so much for your kind words Celia. I had a lovely evening too. AJ x

Posted by Melka at 9:15 on the 04.08.15

I have two of your books and I love both. I like the way you cook it`s for me really inspiring. Today I made fruit salad with tahini sauce, it tastes great! Regards!

Posted by Anna at 8:33 on the 05.08.15

Thanks Melka, that’s really lovely to hear. AJ x

Posted by Aileen Mirrison at 1:11 on the 08.08.15

Thank you Anna. I have been a vegetarian for most of my life & you have re-ignited my love of cooking. I have both of your books & everything I’ve tried has been utterly delicious. I could wax lyrical all day long & am shouting your praises to my friends & family. I’ve even managed to convince them I’m a good cook! With best wishes, Aileen

Posted by Anna at 9:10 on the 11.08.15

Thanks so much Aileen, that is really so lovely to hear. AJ x

Posted by Sheila at 9:11 on the 26.08.15

Hi Anna. Neither my husband nor I are vegetarian but I like to cook veggie meals a few times per week and yours are by far the best vegetarian cookbooks that I have used. I hope you don’t mind but I added basil, lemon juice and pepper to this recipe and it was delicious! (I rarely follow recipes, bad habit of mine!) With best wishes, S

Posted by Sheila at 1:22 on the 28.08.15

Wow this is such great way to cook pasta! I made it with spinach and added basil black pepper and some lemon juice (hope you don’t mind me tweaking your recipe) and it was delicious. I have only recently discovered your books, neither my husband nor I are vegetarian but I like to cook veggie meals a few times a week and your books are full of inspiration – by far the best vegetarian cookbooks I have tried. Thanks! S

Posted by Anna at 9:01 on the 02.09.15

Thanks so much Sheila, so lovely to hear you are a fan. AJ x

Posted by Frances at 7:19 on the 24.11.15

Hey Anna!

Is this actually 100ml of olive oil? This seems like a lot!

Thanks x

Posted by Julie at 11:47 on the 18.12.15

I tried this tonight and it was fabulous. I served it with a cabbage salad, and my husband and I had seconds (it makes a generous amount). Thanks for the recipe!

Posted by Reza at 6:13 on the 02.01.16

can I subtitute the olive oil into coconut oil?

Posted by Anne at 11:42 on the 18.01.16

Delighted to have discovered your blog and cookbooks. Very inspiring! Thank you. So many delicious, creative recipes, spoilt for choice.

Posted by Carole at 5:23 on the 09.05.16

Can you just confirm that the kale is added at the end, please? I amd confused at the picture at the top of the post lookes like it has been added in before the pasta is cooked at the beginning.
Also could I use less than 100 ml of oil?
This looks like a lovely easy recipe, I am a novice cook and looking forward to trying it.

Posted by Anna at 9:19 on the 10.05.16

Hello Carol, yes, the kale is added at the end, and the oil really makes the dish delicious (remember it is split between four.) Hope you enjoy it. AJ x

Posted by Natalie at 6:22 on the 01.08.16

My hubby gave me your cookbook for Christmas and I love it. This recipe is excellent and gave me a chance to use some of my fresh kale from the garden. 🙂

Posted by Lil at 6:38 on the 14.02.17

Great idea! Will it work if I use half a litre of boiling water, with half the quantity of everything else?

Posted by CamCook at 1:27 on the 07.03.17

This is such a great recipe. I have made it several times with kale as directed, but am sitting here right now having cooked the dish with Spring Greens instead (which I must admit I do prefer.) Can never overdo it on the Lemon with this one… so I add lemon juice as well as zest, then chop one of the unsqueezed lemons in half and chuck that into the pot too!) Defimitely going to track down your cook books…

Posted by Anna at 2:10 on the 07.03.17

So pleased to hear you like it. Thanks for the lovely comment. AJ x

Posted by Sophie at 12:23 on the 24.08.17

A 400g bag of kale? My regular bag comes as 200g…

Posted by Suzanne Lewis at 7:40 on the 23.01.18

Hi Anna,

I bought your book on the back of this recipe, and so far so good. I’m not vegetarian, but have managed to share this delicious recipe with my family members, and have cooked this for a friend who loved it. About to test it out on the in-laws tonight! Hope it goes down well.

Posted by Vera at 9:45 on the 12.03.18

Ah we made this tonight and it was delicious. We used roasted peppers instead of tomatoes and added some capers too, which worked so well with the kale. Thank you!

Posted by Deborah at 11:47 on the 13.03.18

tried this with buckwheat spaghetti and it got very gloopy so could not keep the leftovers. I hope it is better with wheat spaghetti.

Posted by Juliet at 8:57 on the 29.04.18

This pasta is fast becoming a favourite in our house. My 3 year old daughter gobbles it up and my 6 month old son loves his puréed version of this dish. It’s so healthy and so simple – a dream for any busy mum. More quick, kid friendly recipes please Anna! We can’t get enough.

Posted by Katie at 3:41 on the 17.07.18

Hi Anna!

Love your book and excited to try this dish. Can you share the specs of your pan? I need to add one to my set and this one looks gorgeous!

Posted by Juliet at 6:36 on the 25.08.18

This is one of our favourite recipes and make it all the time. I was just wondering the reason for the shallow pan? I tried to upscale it the other night (for 6 people) and so used a big pot (my shallow pan wouldn’t hold enough for 6). It didn’t seem to cook down properly as it usually does in the pan. Thanks in advance!

Posted by Alisha at 7:50 on the 17.12.18

What a divine spaghetti! This is the perfect dish for someone like me who doesn’t have much time in the kitchen. The lemon zest was gorgeous. Thank you Anna Jones!

Posted by Fred at 8:22 on the 13.02.19

The total pasta cooking time given is 8 minutes but dry spaghetti takes around 10 minutes. Having made this recipe a couple of times I’ve always had to cook for longer and add a bit more water too.

Posted by Ella at 6:48 on the 19.10.19

I made this at home with spinich after having this at my Dad’s. I halved everything as there’s only two of us and it works perfectly. Delicious and easy thank you so much we’ve also just tried it using fry lite instead of straight oil (sorry but doing sw and this makes it free plus the parmasan) deffo recommend xxx

Posted by Alan Quinn at 3:51 on the 16.04.20

This is a really great, simple and tasty recipe. I make it about once a week. If you can get a broad and shallow pan rather than a ‘pot’ it really helps with the spaghetti not sticking. You do need to keep stirring otherwise. Yum!

Posted by Alana at 9:17 on the 07.07.20

We’ve just completed our ‘Anna Jones Collection’ (for now – looking forward to the new one next year!) and tried out this dish. A really quick and easy weeknight supper that is adaptable too (I didn’t have quite enough spinach so added some sliced sugarsnap peas too) and I can see it being an after work, CBA with too much faff, dinner. Thanks Anna 🙂

Posted by devoid whistler at 3:22 on the 08.10.20

Good recipe but family found the Kale not to their liking (too ferrous). Going to try it again with sprouting broccoli instead.

Posted by James at 1:21 on the 29.04.21

Thanks for the recipe.

Posted by Susie at 4:21 on the 16.04.23

We just love this dish it’s absolutely brilliant and has become one of our easy go to favourites. I am not too precious about the quantities and often add proteins like prawns or ham or bacon and usually spinach instead of kale. I cook it in a large non stick wok and it works perfectly and have shared the recipe with all the family and everyone I know. Awesome Anna your a genius thank you

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