Kale Pesto Mac and Cheese



10 min


55 min


8 Servings

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.

Cheese change

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

Nutrition (per serving)

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

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