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Image for Recipe - Healthy Green Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Healthy Green Mac ‘N’ Cheese

Image for Recipe - Healthy Green Mac ‘N’ Cheese
  • Time preparation 20 minutes
  • cook time 25 minutes
  • Serve Serves 4

This simple, healthy mac n cheese recipe combines a delicious, creamy white sauce with an array of seasonal green vegetables and a crunchy almond crumb. Our top tip - make sure you cook the macaroni pasta for two minutes less than the packet instructions, so it doesn't overcook when you bake it in the oven.

Recipe taken from MasterChef Green by Adam O’Shepherd and MasterChef champions (Bloomsbury Absolute, £26). Photography by Adam O’Shepherd
  • 350g macaroni
  • 100g sourdough, torn into pieces
  • 30g blanched almonds
  • 50g butter
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30g plain flour
  • 700ml milk
  • 100g mature Cheddar, grated
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 65g vegetarian grating cheese, grated
  • 150g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 30g baby spinach
  • 6g flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 6g basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C Fan/Gas 6.

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet, then drain under cold water to stop the pasta cooking further. Whizz the sourdough and almonds in a food processor until a smallish crumb forms, then set aside.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for 2 minutes until soft, stirring. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute until a paste forms. Gradually add 600ml of the milk, using a whisk to create a smooth white sauce.

Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 3–5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly, then season with salt and cracked black pepper. Off the heat, stir in the Cheddar, Dijon mustard, thyme, 50g of the vegetarian grating cheese and the peas.

Whizz the remaining 100ml milk in a blender with the spinach, parsley and basil and add this mixture to the white sauce. Fold in the macaroni and mix well to combine. Pour the green mac ’n’ cheese into a 24 x 18cm baking dish and top with the almond crumb and remaining vegetarian grating cheese.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the crumb topping is golden and the mac ’n’ cheese is bubbling. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a few crisp salad leaves simply dressed with good oil and a little lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 350g macaroni
  • 100g sourdough, torn into pieces
  • 30g blanched almonds
  • 50g butter
  • 1 small brown onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30g plain flour
  • 700ml milk
  • 100g mature Cheddar, grated
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 65g vegetarian grating cheese, grated
  • 150g frozen peas, defrosted
  • 30g baby spinach
  • 6g flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked
  • 6g basil leaves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C Fan/Gas 6.

Cook the macaroni in boiling salted water for 2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet, then drain under cold water to stop the pasta cooking further. Whizz the sourdough and almonds in a food processor until a smallish crumb forms, then set aside.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic for 2 minutes until soft, stirring. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute until a paste forms. Gradually add 600ml of the milk, using a whisk to create a smooth white sauce.

Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 3–5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly, then season with salt and cracked black pepper. Off the heat, stir in the Cheddar, Dijon mustard, thyme, 50g of the vegetarian grating cheese and the peas.

Whizz the remaining 100ml milk in a blender with the spinach, parsley and basil and add this mixture to the white sauce. Fold in the macaroni and mix well to combine. Pour the green mac ’n’ cheese into a 24 x 18cm baking dish and top with the almond crumb and remaining vegetarian grating cheese.

Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until the crumb topping is golden and the mac ’n’ cheese is bubbling. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a few crisp salad leaves simply dressed with good oil and a little lemon juice.

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