Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Cheesy Spinach, Kale, & Zucchini Pasta Bake

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So it turns out that Canada is cold. Go figure. This is my first September in Canada in a few years and I forgot how chilly it can get. Yes, I'm still trotting around in shorts and t-shirts, but that's an act of pure defiance and there is definitely a large part of me that wants to curl up in a wool blanket instead. But I'm not ready to give up my flip flops and sunhat just yet, so I'm getting my coziness from my food instead.

In my last post I shared all the goodies we received in our farm share box and promised to share winner recipes. Well, I think I've got one. This is a rib-sticker and is exactly what this cooler weather calls for. I think there are going to be many variations of this over the next few months, as it's only going to get colder from here!

This dish features lovely hearty leafy greens along with some silky zucchini, all tossed together with pasta and coated with a simple cheese sauce.  I was aiming for a sauce similar in style to this mac and cheese I made awhile ago, but realized literally as I was making it that I had no butter and no milk. Hmmmmm time to improvise! In place of the butter I used coconut oil, and in place of regular milk I used almond. I made a simple roux out of that before adding a good dollop of cheddar and the result was awesome! Not at all coconut-y just silky smooth cheesy goodness. I'm telling you guys, it's a winner.

Keep reading for the recipe!

Cheesy Spinach, Kale, & Zucchini Pasta Bake

3 1/2 cups of dry pasta
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, diced
3 cups raw kale
4 cups raw spinach
1 - 2 Tbsp water (if needed)
1/4 cup butter (or coconut oil)
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/12 cups milk (or almond milk)
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp ground black pepper)
1 - 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp grated parmesan


  1. Preheat oven to 350 C
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions, strain and set aside
  3. In a frying pan, fry up the garlic and onion together until they've softened up a bit (about 2 minutes)
  4. Add in the zucchini, kale, and spinach and allow to cook down for a couple of minutes. If your mixture has let off a little water cover the pan and allow to steam for about 3 - 5 minutes - if it hasn't, add 1 - 2 Tbsp of water, cover and steam. The goal is to have the veggies cooked before you combine them with the pasta
  5. In an oven safe casserole dish or french oven, combine the veggies and pasta, then set aside
  6. In a small sauce pan combine the butter/coconut oil, flour, and salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the flour has fully combined with the butter/oil
  7. Slowly pour in the milk and continue to stir. The goal here is to get rid of any lumps that may have occurred.
  8. Cook down until the flour/butter/milk mixture is thick and creamy in consistency
  9. Add the cheese and stir until completely melted
  10. Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta/veggie mixture and stir to combine
  11. Bake, covered, for 35 minutes
  12. Sprinkle the top with parmesan and continue to bake, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes or until things start to look brown and bubbly and delicious
  13. Remove from oven and enjoy!

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