/Due to the popularity of this post. I’ve updated the broccoli and kale mac and cheese recipe with new photos and a new story! Check it out and let me know what you think!/
The original photos on this post had been doggone awful! If you want to know the truth, the photos had originally been taken during my college days when the photo quality on camera phones were still quite terrible. I actually created the recipe for a blog that I’d started during my senior year in college. That blog has since been long retired, but the recipe has been revamped!
See this photo below? That’s the original. It’s meh.
Since it’s a late Thursday night and I accidentally drank 5 shots of espresso this morning and then had some black tea this evening, I think it’s time for me to tell you a story about this mac and cheese before I can call it a night.
Basically, if I had to choose one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would hands down be Macaroni and Cheese. I love the boxed kinds, restaurant kinds, baked kinds, all kinds. In college, I lived off this stuff, especially Target’s generic macaroni and cheese boxes. They were $1.99 for 3 boxes or something in Stockton, CA. Every college student’s dream. Unfortunately, magically delicious, cheap, and healthy are not always directly correlated. Lame.
Wait, wait, wait! Sorry, I totally lied. This recipe is both magically delicious and healthy! I mean, look at all those green veggies and pasta made of lentils (lentil pasta). Yeah, you heard that right. This recipe is essentially a bowl of beans and greens in the form of Mac and Cheese. Are your minds blown yet?
Oh, and to top it all off. It’s made with real cheese! Not the delicious powdered stuff you find in the Kraft’s boxes. Hate to break it to you, but those things don’t have real cheese. I know. I was heartbroken too.
But don’t worry. Like I said, this recipe is magically delicious and will definitely be a fine replacement to boxed mac and cheese. Promise.
This recipe was actually the first thing I’d ever cooked for Mark back in my college days. With a bowl of soggy kale chips left out too long, this delicious broccoli and kale macaroni and cheese that took me hours to make (because I hardly knew what I was doing), and my charm, I somehow got him to stick around for this long. I’d like to think that this macaroni and cheese was what did the trick, but somehow I highly doubt it.
- 8 ounces of your choice of lentil pasta, whole-wheat, or veggie elbow noodles, (2 cups)
- About 3 cups frozen chopped broccoli (or fresh broccoli florets – cut small)
- About 3 cups bag of baby spinach or baby kale
- 3 Tbsp olive oil.
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1¾ cups 1% milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (or mature Cheddar cheese)
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (omit if you don’t like the flavor of mustard)
- Add Salt and pepper to taste
- Boil the pasta (follow instructions on the box). When you drain them, toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil to keep them from sticking.
- Heat olive oil on a pan. Saute the minced garlic with chopped broccoli and a pinch of salt until broccoli is slightly tender. Add the kale or spinach and cook until they're wilted.
- Whisk ¼ cup milk, flour, garlic powder, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined.
- In a large pot, heat 1½ cups of milk until it begins to simmer. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk. Be sure to stir constantly for about 3 minutes, getting rid of any chunks.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Cheddar and Parmesan cheese until they're melted.
- Add pasta and veggies into the cheese sauce, mix them up, heat on low heat, and prepare to enjoy the deliciousness. Add salt and pepper to taste.