Greens Mac 'N' Cheese

This healthy take on mac and cheese from Jamie Oliver's first vegetarian cookbook, Ultimate Veg, features leek, broccolini, and spinach with a crunchy toasted almond topping.
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Greens Mac 'N' Cheese

Greens Mac 'N' Cheese

  • Cook Time
  • 6Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large leek
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 14 oz broccolini
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • .5 bunch of fresh thyme (½ oz)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 16 oz dried macaroni
  • 1 oz Parmesan cheese
  • 5 oz sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 3.5 oz baby spinach
  • 1.75 oz flaked almonds

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

Trim, halve and wash the leek and peel the garlic, then finely slice with the broccolini stalks, reserving the florets for later. Place the sliced veg in a large casserole pan over a medium heat with the butter, then strip in the thyme leaves and cook for 15 minutes, or until softened, stirring regularly. 

Stir in the flour, followed slowly by the milk, then simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened, stirring regularly. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain.

Grate the Parmesan and most of the Cheddar into the sauce, and mix well. Tip into a blender, add the spinach and whiz until smooth – you may need to work in batches. Season to perfection with sea salt and black pepper, then stir through the pasta and broccolini florets, loosening with a splash of milk, if needed. 

Transfer to a 14- x 10-inch baking dish, grate over the remaining Cheddar and scatter over the almonds. Bake for 30 minutes, or until beautifully golden and bubbling.

Swap spinach out for any kind of exciting fresh or frozen greens, discarding any tough stalks. I also sometimes add breadcrumbs to the top for bonus crunch. Tasty!

See also Recipe: Vegan Cashew Pesto With Whole Grain Pasta

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Excerpted from ULTIMATE VEG: Easy & Delicious Meals for Everyone by Jamie Oliver. Flatiron Books, 2020. Reprinted with permission.