Stove-top mac ‘n’ cheese

You can’t beat a good macaroni cheese and this one cuts the usual lengthy cooking time in half!


Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


350g macaroni, preferably wholegrain

350g small broccoli florets

140g frozen peas

2 tbsp butter

1 large garlic clove, crushed

3 tbsp spelt flour

500ml warm milk

85g white cabbage, finely grated

1 tsp English mustard

250g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

freshly ground black pepper

Nutty seed topping:

30g hazelnuts

30g blanched almonds

4 tbsp sunflower seeds

½ tsp dried thyme

a large pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)


1 Cook the macaroni according to the pack instructions until al dente. Add the broccoli 4 minutes before the end of the pasta cooking time and the peas 2 minutes before the pasta is ready. Drain and leave to one side.

2 Meanwhile, make the nutty seed topping. Toast the nuts in a large, dry frying pan for 5 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally until lightly coloured. Tip the nuts into a mini food processor. Repeat with the seeds, toasting them for 2-3 minutes until they start to colour. Tip into the processor with the nuts and grind to a coarse, crumbly mixture. Stir in the thyme and chilli flakes, if using, and leave to one side.

3 Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the garlic. Add the flour and cook over a low heat, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in the milk then add the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of double cream. Stir in the mustard and cheese and cook for another couple of minutes.

4 Stir the pasta, broccoli and peas into the sauce and heat through then season with pepper. Serve in bowls sprinkled with the nutty seed topping.

Chef’s tip: Any leftover topping will keep for up to one week if stored in an airtight container – sprinkle it over pasta, noodles, stir-fries and salads.

Recipe and image courtesy of Vegetarian Food for Healthy Kids by Nicola Graimes © Nicola Graimes 2016 published by Nourish Books, London, Paperback, £12.99

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