Veggie-filled Gluten-free Mac & Cheese
Let’s talk for a second about Comfort Food. As the nights draw in earlier and the temperatures drop, all I am craving right now is a properly hearty meal. And as you may know, I am borderline obsessed with trying to find sneaky ways to transform traditionally unhealthy classics into their nutritionally packed super cousins. And this veggie-laden, fibre-filled, gluten-free Mac and Cheese is no exception. Packing in 5 different vegetables, and at only 460 calories per serving, it provides 16g of protein and almost a third of my daily fibre. But perhaps more interestingly, is it’s high micronutrient content — one portion provides a huge 82% and 51% of my daily Vitamin A and Vitamin C requirements respectively. It is also high in calcium and iron too, so given that is quick to prepare and is darn right delicious, it really does tick all of the boxes.
· 180g Gluten-free or Wholewheat pasta (I used Buckwheat)
· ½ tbsp Olive Oil
· 45g Cavelo Nero (Kale would also work well here, but if you have none to hand, just double the amount of Spinach instead)
· 45g Spinach
· 180g Cherry Tomatoes
· 2 Leeks
· 1 White Onion
· 100g Flour (I used Buckwheat, but spelt or wholegrain would work too)
· 400ml Milk (I used Oat milk because I was trying to keep the dairy content lower, but using cows milk would up the protein nicely and make it creamier)
· ½ tsp Smoked Paprika
· ½ tsp Garlic Granules
· 100g Organic Cheddar Cheese
· 1½ tbsp Wholegrain Mustard
· Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees.
· Boil the pasta following the instructions on the pack.
· Note — when you drain the pasta, keep some of the cooking water as it will be needed to dilute the thick sauce later.
· Dice the leeks and onions.
· Remove the stalks from the cavelo nero and chop finely.
· Halve the tomatoes.
· Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions and leeks until just starting to brown.
· Add the smoked paprika, garlic granules, chopped cavelo nero and spinach.
· Stir well and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
· Set these vegetables aside.
· In a bowl, combine the milk, wholegrain mustard and sift in the flour. Whisk together until fully combined with no lumps.
· Pour this mixture into the pan with the sautéed vegetables and stir well.
· Continue to stir over a low heat until it has thickened.
· Add some of the cooking water to make a spoonable sauce.
· Add the drained pasta to the veggies and grate in most of the cheese (leaving some behind to scatter on the top).
· Season with salt and pepper to taste.
· Either spoon the pasta mixture into a large casserole dish, or into smaller individual oven-proof dishes.
· Arrange the tomato halves over the top and grate the remaining cheese.
· Cook for 20 minutes until nice and golden on the top, and bubbling in the middle.
Calories — 445
Fat — 12g
Carbohydrates — 70g
Fibre — 7g (28%)
Protein — 15g
Vitamin A — 82%
Vitamin C — 51%
Calcium — 24%
Iron — 15%