Super-green mac ‘n’ cheese

Revamp mac ‘n’ cheese with broccoli, spinach and peas, plus a crunchy nut and seed topping. It has all the flavour of the classic dish, but with added nutrients

  • Prep:15 mins
    Cook:40 mins
  • Serves 6
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 709
  • fat 29g
  • saturates 17g
  • carbs 78g
  • sugars 12g
  • fibre 7g
  • protein 31g
  • salt 1.5g

Ingredients

  • 1l semi-skimmed milk
  • 75g butter
  • 75g plain flour
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 175g mature or extra mature cheddar, grated
  • 50g parmesan, grated
  • 100g spinach, fresh or frozen
  • 400g macaroni
  • 1 broccoli (about 300g), broken into florets
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 3 slices white bread (about 125g)
  • 1 small bunch of basil leaves
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 25g mixed nuts or seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and almonds, for the topping

Tip

Mac ‘n’ cheese balls
Roll any leftover cold mac ‘n’ cheese into walnut-sized balls and coat in flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs. Put in a roasting tin, drizzle with sunflower oil and bake at 220C/ 200C fan/gas 8 for 10 mins. Give the tin a shake and bake for 10-15 mins more until crisp and golden.

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Tip the milk, butter and flour into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer, whisking continuously until you have a smooth, thick sauce, about 3-4 mins. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps – the sauce will be blended later. Season well, then add the mustard, both cheeses and spinach.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 5 mins. Add the broccoli and continue cooking until the pasta is cooked through and the broccoli is soft. Drain.

  3. Transfer half the cooked broccoli to the cheese sauce. Whizz the cheese sauce until smooth, creamy and bright green using a hand blender (or stand mixer). Loosen with a splash of milk, if needed. Stir in the pasta, remaining broccoli and the peas and tip into a large baking dish.

  4. If making the topping, put the bread, basil, oil and half the nuts or seeds in a food processor and whizz to coarse, green crumbs. Scatter over the pasta along with the remaining nuts or seeds. Bake for 20-25 mins, until the topping is crunchy and the sauce is bubbling. Will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.