Creamy Mac and Cheese with Kale

Course ---> Main
Dish Type ---> Pasta
Diet ---> Vegetarian
Difficulty ---> Medium

It is a basic fact, almost everyone loves mac and cheese. We sneak it in as a side in restaurants. We nibble on the leftovers we made for the kids. To make a wonderful thing even better, I have incorporated kale into this recipe, adding texture, color and flavor that will have you making this again and again.


8 ounces elbow macaroni

4 cups kale, stems removed and chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 cups olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 3/4 cup milk, divided

 1/2 cup smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

 1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated

1 cup white cheddar cheese, grated

1 teaspoon thyme

1 sea salt

1 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large stockpot filled with water to a boil, and add 1 tbsp. of salt.
  3. Fill a bowl with ice and water and have it ready near stove.
  4. Put chopped kale into boiling water for 1 minute, remove with a slotted spoon, reserving the pot of boiling water, and put kale directly into ice water for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove kale from water and let drain on a towel.
  6. Add macaroni to the boiling pot and cook in salted boiling water until still a bit firm, about 5-6 minutes, then drain.
  7. Coat an 8-10” baking pan with cooking spray and pour in cooked pasta.
  8. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until lightly golden. Add thyme.
  9. In a medium pot, bring 1 ½ cups milk to a simmer.
  10. In a separate bowl, combine the 3 tbsp. flour with the remaining ¼ cup milk.
  11. Add flour mixture to warm milk and simmer, stirring, until it becomes thick, about 3 minutes.
  12. Add cheddar, Gouda, ¼ cup of the Parmesan and whisk until cheese is melted and fully incorporated. You can add extra milk as needed to thin sauce so that it will evenly coat pasta.
  13. Mix cheese sauce, drained kale, onions and salt into pasta.
  14. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs with 1 tbsp. olive oil and ¼ cup Parmesan.
  15. Top pasta evenly with breadcrumb mixture.
  16. Bake until cheese is bubbling, about 25 minutes.


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