Garlicky Kale Mac n’ Cheese
with Crispy Breadcrumbs & Pesto
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 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® pasta
- 2 tbsp vegan basil pesto
- 1 tbsp (2 tbsp) olive oil*
- Salt and pepper*
- *Not included
- For full ingredient list, see Nutrition
- Directions for 4 servings indicated in parentheses
- 8x8 or smaller baking dish
- Medium saucepan
- Large pot
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel and dice the onion(s). Peel and mince the garlic. Destem curly kale and roughly chop the leaves. Add the panko breadcrumbs, 2 tsp (4 tsp) olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a small bowl. Toss until breadcrumbs are evenly coated.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and just half the minced garlic. Cook until onion softens, 3 to 5 minutes. Add rice flour and continuously stir until toasted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add almond milk, continuing to stir, and bring to a simmer. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the almond milk mixture, mozzarella, ½ tsp (1 tsp) salt, and a pinch of pepper to a blender and blend until smooth.
Return the medium saucepan to medium-high heat with 1 tsp (2 tsp) olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add remaining minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chopped curly kale and a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add pasta to the boiling water, stir, and cook until al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Return pasta to the large pot, off heat. Add cheese sauce and garlicky kale to the large pot and stir to combine.
Transfer the pasta and kale mixture to a baking dish and top with panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown and sauce is bubbly, 6 to 8 minutes. Divide the garlicky kale mac n’ cheese between plates and drizzle with pesto.