Garlicky Kale Mac n’ Cheese
with Crispy Breadcrumbs & Pesto
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 oz curly kale
- ¼ cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 2 tbsp rice flour
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 oz vegan mozzarella
- 8 oz Banza® rotini pasta
- ¼ cup vegan basil pesto
- 1 tbsp + 2 tsp olive oil*
- Salt and pepper*
- *Not included
- For full ingredient list, see Nutrition
- 8x8 or smaller baking dish
- Medium saucepan
- Large pot
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot with 4 quarts water and 2 tbsp salt to a boil. Peel and dice the onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Destem the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Add the panko breadcrumbs, 2 tsp olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a small bowl. Toss until the breadcrumbs are evenly coated.
Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with the butter. Once melted, add the diced onion and just half the minced garlic. Cook until the onion softens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice flour and stir constantly, until toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the almond milk, stirring constantly, and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the almond milk sauce base, mozzarella, ½ tsp salt, and a pinch of pepper to the blender and blend until smooth.
Return the medium saucepan to medium-high heat with 1 tbsp olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chopped kale, a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the pasta to the boiling water, stir, and cook until al dente, about 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Return the pasta to the large pot, off of the heat, and combine with the cheese sauce and garlicky kale.
Transfer the mac n’ cheese to a baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake in the oven until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and sauce is bubbly, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drizzle with basil pesto and serve the garlicky kale mac n’ cheese hot, family style. Enjoy!