Green Mac & Cheese

Making my toddler eat vegetables can be a battle at times. This mac & cheese recipe is perfect as it contains three green hidden veggies in the cheese sauce. It’s delicious for the whole family and quick to make.

The three veggies I have used are broccoli, peas and spinach. You can easily try a different combination of veg with this recipe. I find it a perfect end of week dinner as I can use up any leftover veg in my fridge from the week.

The quantities below make about three toddler portions so you can scale up as necessary to feed the whole family.

Yield: 3

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 100g large elbows or macaroni pasta
  • 60g broccoli florets, chopped into smaller chunks and any large, hard stalky parts removed
  • 50g frozen peas
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp wholewheat plain flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, grated or crushed
  • 1/4 tsp dried mixed herbs or oregano
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a twist of black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F.
  2. Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions, drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile place a medium sized pan on a medium heat and add the olive oil.
  4. Once hot add the red onion and sauté for 3 minutes or until soft and very slightly brown. You may need to turn the heat down to prevent sticking to the base of the pan.
  5. Then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
  6. Add in the the green veg and stir fry for 5 minutes until soft and cooked.
  7. Take the pan off the heat and the black pepper and dried herbs and mix well.
  8. In a small pan add the butter and melt over a medium heat.
  9. Then add in the flour and keep stirring for one minute. The flour should begin to brown slightly.
  10. Continue to stir constantly and add the milk bit by bit until all of the milk is added.
  11. Keep on stirring for 6-7 minutes to help the sauce to thicken and prevent sticking to the base of the pan.
  12. Once the sauce has thickened take off the heat and add the nutmeg and cheese (leaving a small handful of the grated cheese to the side for later).
  13. Add the contents of veg pan to the sauce pan and mix well. Then blitz using a hand blender to ensure the sauce is smooth and there are no visible large chunks of veg.
  14. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix well.
  15. Then add to a ceramic baking dish and scatter the remaining cheese on top.
  16. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes, the cheese should begin to turn golden brown.

Tips:

Best to serve immediately but once cooled you can refrigerate in an air tight container for up to 48 hours. You can reheat in the microwave.

I used wholewheat flour but you can use all purpose plain flour instead.

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