creamy pesto is combined with a rich, cheesy sauce, poured over whole grain pasta and roasted brussel sprouts then topped with crispy bread crumbs and baked to perfection.
Okay so don’t let the wordy title of this dish scare you off because it’s actually really easy.
How easy you might ask? I literally whipped this up yesterday morning in-between Owen’s 7am feeding and 8am breakfast. That includes making the homemade spinach walnut pesto!
This is truly comfort food at it’s best, but it’s also got sneaky veggies in there! Not only is the pesto made from spinach, but I also folded in some lightly roasted shaved brussel sprouts!
You can get as crazy as you want, if I had had it on hand, I also would’ve thrown in some lightly roasted broccoli (I definitely plan to do that next time).
So yes, this is a total comfort food dish, but at the same time you’re still getting whole grains, protein from the cheese and yogurt, heart-healthy fats from the pesto and veggies!
Cheesy goodness packed with flavor and nutrition? That’s my kind of comfort food right there.
- 3–4 cups of spinach
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3–4 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
- Olive oil
- 1 pound whole wheat elbow macaroni
- 1 quart (4 cups) non-fat milk
- 8 tablespoons earth balance, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 ounces (2 cups) gruyere, grated
- 6 ounces (2 cups) swiss, grated
- 6 ounces (2 cups) extra-sharp white cheddar, grated
- 1 cup shaved parmesan, lightly roasted
- 1 cup panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 single-serve container siggi’s whole milk yogurt
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Olive oil
- Add garlic, spinach, walnuts, cheese, salt & pepper into a food processor and begin to process, streaming in olive oil until you’ve reached your desired consistency
- Process until smooth and set aside
For the Mac & Cheese:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place shaved (or roughly chopped) brussel sprouts on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper. Roast 20-30 minutes or until just lightly browned.
- While brussel sprouts roast, drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan, being careful not to let it boil.
- In a separate large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of earth balance then add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk.
- Continue whisking and add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
- Remove from the heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper stirring to combine and until cheese is melted and gooey. Add pesto then add the cooked macaroni, roasted brussel sprouts and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish then dollop yogurt throughout.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of earth balance, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
You can omit the brussel sprouts if they’re not your thing or sub in another favorite veggie (steamed broccoli florets work well too!)
Keywords: mac and cheese, pesto, whole grain, dinner