Kale Pesto Mac and Cheese


  • Prep Time10 mins
  • Total Time55 mins
  • Makes8 Servings
Kale Pesto Mac and Cheese

Photo: Andrew Grinton

Your kids will eat kale when it's presented in a bowl of mac and cheese that's studded with crunchy breadcrumbs. They'll probably even ask for seconds.


  • 1 450 g pkg short pasta, such as macaroni or farfalle

  • 1 large bunch kale, stems and ribs removed

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

  • 2 tsp chopped garlic

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 3 1/2 cups milk, warmed

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 2 cups grated aged cheddar

  • 2 cups Gruyere

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan

  • 2 tbsp fresh Italian parsely, chopped

  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

  • 2 tsp olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 350F.

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

  • Steam kale for 5 min or until tender. Let cool, then squeeze out excess liquid and chop finely. Set aside.

  • Heat butter in a pot over medium. Add onion and sauté for 2 min or until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 1 min longer. Add flour and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly for 2 min to cook out floury taste. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth and milk is fully incorporated. Stir in mustard. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 min or until thickened.

  • Remove from heat and add cheddar and Parmesan cheese a handful a time, stirring until melted and incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add kale and Italian parsley

  • Combine sauce with cooked pasta and pile into buttered ramekins or a buttered 9 x 13-in. casserole dish.

  • Toss bread crumbs with olive oil until moistened and sprinkle over pasta. Bake for 30 min or until sauce is bubbling.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 702, Protein 34g, Carbohydrates 65g, Fat 35g, Fibre 6g, Sodium 556mg.

Cheese change

Substitute 2 cups Gruyère cheese for 2 cups white cheddar cheese.

 Originally published in our January 2013 issue. Photo by Andrew Grinton.

This article was originally published on Feb 01, 2018

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