Crunchy crust kale pasta bake {vegan}28

Posted on September 10, 2012 by ChristieDinner Time, Vegan, Vegetarian

This dish had a working title of Green Mac ‘n Cheese and then in brackets – (the vegan addition) – right up until the last minute. When I realised it doesn’t actually have any cheese… because it’s vegan. Duh.

But Green Mac ‘n Cheese is a good name, don’t you think? If you don’t care to eat a vegan meal, then go right ahead and make this dish with cow’s milk and replace the crunchy crust with cheese – and then you can call it that.

If you are uniting with me today and eating vegan, then read on for an absolute stellar dish – yes, even if I do say so myself!

Keen on Kale

I am very, very late to jump on the bandwagon for kale. Its brassica charms have alluded me while I read blog post, after blog post of my fellow foodies waxing lyrical about the taste and amazing health benefits.

Well, now it’s my turn.

Kale. Wow. Where have you been all my life? I adore you.

The cousin of broccoli, cabbage, sprouts and other such vegetables that let off a gross gass when overcooked, this green beauty can actually withstand a little heat in the kitchen.

Here, I quickly sautéed it and then mixed it into the pasta with some vegan bechamel sauce (more on that in a minute) and then baked it. The kale stayed green, firm to the bite and downright delicious mingled in amongst the pasta.

If you can’t find kale for this recipe then substitute with silverbeet or spinach.

What’s this about a vegan bechamel?

I really thought it couldn’t be done. But it can. It took a few tries, but soy milk can make a yummy bechamel sauce.

There’s no cheese in it, obviously, but a Dijon mustard and a good amount of seasoning really lifts it.

Try it half and half with cows milk next time to get you used to the idea and then go all the way – it works really well here with the lemon zest and herbs in the crunchy bread crust.

I realise this dish is not for everyone. Some people would run a mile (or more) if they found out their bechamel sauce was made with soy milk, and I have to admit, I do prefer the real thing (using cow’s milk). However, I really enjoy varying my family’s diet with lots of different types of food – and it’s nice for a change.

How about you? Would you eat bechamel made from soy milk?

Linking up with Veggie Mama’s Meatless Mondays. Click on through to find lots more yummy vegetarian meals.

Christie x

Crunchy crust kale pasta bake

serves 4

  • 400g macaroni pasta (or other small-shaped pasta)
  • 1 bunch (150g) kale (or other leafy vegetable such as spinach or silverbeet)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 625ml (2.5 cups) Vitasoy Original Soymilk
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free vegetable spread
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 slices multigrain bread, blitzed to make coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3-4 parsley sprigs, leaves picked and chopped

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes or as per packet instructions until almost al dente. You want it a little underdone because it will be heated again in the oven later on. Drain well and then place into a 2L ovenproof baking dish. Set aside.

2. Roughly chop up the leaves and stems of the bunch of kale and add to a frying pan with the olive oil. Fry over medium heat for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted. Transfer half the kale to a mini food processor and add a splash of soy milk. Blitz for 30 seconds until finely chopped and smooth. Pour over the pasta in the baking dish along with the rest of the wilted kale from the frying pan.

3. Heat the oven to 200C. Melt the margarine or butter in a small saucepan, add the cornflour and stir to form a paste. Slowly pour in the remaining soy milk while vigorously mixing to avoid lumps. Stir for 5 minutes until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the mustard and season with a little salt and lots of pepper. Pour over the pasta and stir well to combine everything.

4. Put the breadcrumbs, lemon zest and parsley into a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta and place in the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.

Fig & Cherry was commissioned by Vitasoy Australia to develop this sponsored recipe featuring their range of non-dairy milks. For more great soy recipes (including plenty more by Christie!) visit

If you are a brand or PR who would like to commission a sponsored recipe, please get in touch via the Advertising page.

Looking for more vegan recipes? Check these out:

  • I often hear from my chef pals that vegan food sucks, however there are a lot of great dishes that I have eaten in the past couple years which were vegan. More often than not I didn’t even think about them being vegan until after I had cooked and eaten them.

    • You are absolutely right Joshua! If people just give vegan dishes a chance they are usually pleasantly surprised. Thanks for dropping by. Christie

  • This looks like another winner Meatless Monday recipe Christie! Love the addition of the kale. My vegan Mum just *loves* soy milk as well, so I have to pass this one along to her – she will love it!

    • Oh great Christine! Would love to hear how she goes with this recipe :) Christie

  • JM

    I’m with you on kale – it’s magical :) This looks delicious!

    • Oooh another Kale lover! Join the club :)

  • I always bake with soy milk and no one has ever noticed! Great recipe Christie. I am yet to jump on kale but you have nudged me a step closer :)

    • Do it Kyrstie! You’ll kick yourself for missing out :)

  • As soon as we read the words “crunchy crust,” we wanted this! As in RIGHT NOW! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you made it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard, escarole, dandelion and other green leafies.

    –Your friendly Southern California farmers at Cut `n Clean Greens

  • Nice and crunchy on top and nice and squishy inside- win win! Vegan smeagan, don’t tell people and theyll never know, so no complaints just licked clean dishes :)

    • Yes, the texture contrast is a real hit with this one!

  • Mum’s been putting kale in her Italian dishes forever (soups, frittatas etc)… but it wasn’t until recently I realised how versatile it is! Another wonderful recipe Christie!

    • Thanks Amanda! Mums are clever like that ;)

  • I’ve never actually made bechamel with soy milk (despite being a vegetarian). But after looking at your recipe I thought I should definitely give it a go! It looks great!

  • Have you tried kale chips? You must, they’re so, so fantastic! I just wish kale was easier to find here.

    • Not yet, but intend to give them a go soon! x

  • I really like the look of this – I’m new to the Kale bandwagon too, having only cooked with it once (NQNs Kale Chips). This recipe is a bit beyond my tragic cooking abilities…but it sure looks tasty!

    • I’m yet to try NQN’s kale chips, but will do so soon!

  • I’d give it a go. I had some left over soy milk the the fridge from an experiment and I’ve been using it in my smoothies. I might just have to branch out.

    Don’t worry you’re not the last one. I still haven’t tried kale.

  • Eha

    Christie: am peagreen with envy, ’cause you have moved to God’s own country! I resided up at Ocean Shores for ages, SO!!!! Lovely recipe, am looking forwards for more of the same, give that beautiful daughter of yours an extra hug – and may we have a photo soon!!

  • Pingback: Kale and mushroom pasta bake « Musings on food & drink()

  • You can also try coconut milk…I find it creamier than soy milk…even the lite version!

  • since I don’t consume any soy……I guess I’m not going to try this. Been mixing Kale into my reg. Mac’n’cheese for years. so no need to change.

    • Hi Susan, glad to hear you’ve been enjoying kale this way already! Do try the crunchy crust next time though, it really adds a nice texture contrast :)

  • Nicole Kramer

    Would almond milk work as well the soy?

    • Hi Nicole, yes almond milk works a treat! Hope you enjoy it :) Christie

  • Dawn Disney

    I just made this and it’s delish! I added nutritional yeast and my family devoured it. Thanks!

    • Hi Dawn, Great stuff! I haven’t made this for a while, need to give it a go with nutritional yeast, sounds good! Christie

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