Join Club Momme for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts and more!

Sign up
Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.

Close

Gluten-Free Family Favorites: Pesto Mac and Cheese

This dish combines a traditional from-scratch macaroni and cheese with a healthful pesto, made with spinach in addition to the usual basil. The result is a green mac and cheese that’s not super cheesy yet loses none of the richness and flavor of the original.

RELATED: Gluten-Free Fruit Strips

RECIPE: Pesto Mac and Cheese

Makes one 9 x 9-inch pan or 2-quart casserole

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces (227 grams) short gluten-free pasta (e.g., elbow macaroni)
  • 2 cups (90 grams) packed spinach leaves
  • ½ cup (18 grams) fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup (37 grams) raw cashew pieces
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) sharp cheddar cheese, cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup (23 grams) plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) milk
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23 cm) baking pan or 2-quart (1.9 L) casserole with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the spinach, basil, cashews, cheddar, ¼ cup of the Parmesan, and garlic in the food processor and process until a paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add ¾ cup milk. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Add the remaining milk, the egg, and a dash each of salt and pepper and process until incorporated.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with the spinach mixture. Pour into the prepared pan. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the pasta is set.

Variation

PESTO MACARONI: Omit the cheddar, Parmesan, milk, and egg. Toss the spinach mixture with the hot cooked and drained noodles, but do not bake

Kids can ...

  • Collect ingredients from the pantry and refrigerator
  • Measure ingredients
  • Dump ingredients into the food processor
  • Press the food processor buttons
  • Crack the egg
  • Mix the pasta and spinach mixture together with a spoon

RELATED: Gluten-Free Rainbow of Smoothies

To make this recipe ...

Tree-nut-free

· Substitute hemp seeds for the cashew pieces.

Egg-free, dairy-free, and vegan

· Follow the instructions to make the Pesto Macaroni variation.

Corn-free

· Make sure you’re using a corn-free pasta, such as one made from brown rice or quinoa.

Recipe from "Gluten-Free Family Favorites: The 75 Go-To Recipes You Need to Feed Kids and Adults All Day Every Day," copyright © Kelli and Peter Bronski, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

Share this on Facebook?

More from lifestyle