Kimchi Mac and Cheese

Get ready for a total mac and cheese game changer!!! This kimchi mac and cheese is spicy, tangy, and creamy with a perfectly golden, crispy top. Each bite gets an extra flavor punch from a special mixture of fresh herbs.

Sometimes you experience a meal that forever changes your life. It changes the way you think about ingredients and flavor combinations and then after the meal is over you think about it. Regularly, sometimes daily, until you have the chance to eat it again. 

Get ready for a total mac and cheese game changer!!! This kimchi mac and cheese is spicy, tangy, and creamy with a perfectly golden, crispy top. Each bite gets an extra flavor punch from a special mixture of fresh herbs.

This happened for me a few months back at Roy Choi’s Pot with a few friends. It was the first time I had ever experienced Korean food and up until that point I had been absolutely terrified of kimchi. I don’t know what I was waiting for…maybe I just had to be in the right setting – surrounded by friends after a few cocktails with a steaming bowl of kimchi fried rice sitting in front of me. Who knows… all I know, is I am now hopelessly addicted and after having tried quite a few store bought, vegetarian friendly versions of kimchi that weren’t any good I finally found one that I love and have been using in all sorts of ways at home. 

Get ready for a total mac and cheese game changer!!! This kimchi mac and cheese is spicy, tangy, and creamy with a perfectly golden, crispy top. Each bite gets an extra flavor punch from a special mixture of fresh herbs.

It’s funny because the same week I found this great vegan kimchi was also the same week I stumbled upon the cookbook Gluten-Free Pasta by Robin Asbell and wouldn’t you know there was a recipe for kimchi mac and cheese in it! Aside from making Robin’s fresh pasta, which is absolutely AMAZING, making kimchi mac and cheese was first on my list. 

Get ready for a total mac and cheese game changer!!! This kimchi mac and cheese is spicy, tangy, and creamy with a perfectly golden, crispy top. Each bite gets an extra flavor punch from a special mixture of fresh herbs.

After I made this the first time Todd and I both agreed that kimchi mac and cheese would become a regular dinner affair in our home. Since then I have made it quite a few times, added a few personal touches of my own like toning down the heat a bit, increasing the amount of kimchi, and adding a mixture of fresh herbs on top to really make all of the flavors sing. It’s pure magic and a dish you should totally make yourself.


Kimchi Mac and Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4 as a main, 6 as a side
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sweet rice flour
  • 1½ cups skim milk
  • ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2¼ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced very thin
  • 10 ounces gluten free penne pasta
  • ½ cup drained & chopped kimchi
  • 2 scallions, light and dark green parts, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chiffonade basil
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • thin slices of fresh jalapeno
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Lightly grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter then whisk in the sweet rice flour until it forms a smooth paste. Allow the paste to cook over medium heat until it starts to bubble and smell toasted, whisking frequently. Remove the pan from the heat, slowly whisk in the milk until blended, then return to the heat. Cook, whisking constantly until the sauce begins to bubble and has thickened. Remove from the heat and whisk in the salt, all but ½ cup of the cheese, and the jalapenos. Set aside while you cook the pasta.
  4. When the pasta water is boiling add the dry pasta and cook for 5 minutes less than the package suggests. Drain thoroughly and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the cheese sauce over the penne and stir gently until all of the pasta is coated.
  5. Pour half of the pasta into the prepared skillet, sprinkle half of the kimchi over the top, then pour the remaining pasta on top. Spread the remaining kimchi over the top of the pasta, top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Garnish the mac and cheese with the scallions, basil, cilantro, and jalapeno slices right before serving.
Notes
Adapted from Gluten Free-Pasta by Robin Asbell

 

Comments

  1. says

    Can I tell you how much I love this?!!! I’m Korean so we always have kimchi in the house. . and I add it into everything. . I posted a kimchi penne recently. . anyway, love love love this. . and want to evangelize kimchi to the world! 🙂 Glad you came around to trying it. . . . Pure magic, indeed! 🙂

  2. says

    The MILK vegan is my absolute favorite too. Simple, clean flavors and ridiculously good. Love your styling here and I seriously wish there was some of this in my oven right now.

  3. Korean says

    You shouldn’t need the jalapeno kick if you have the right kimchi. In Korea, we have many different kinds of kimchi. As you have seen there are many you don’t like and finally found one you do like. If you make your own kimchi, you can regulate the spiciness and specific ingredients to the point where this particular mac and cheese would be so ridiculous. Try it. It’s worth it.

  4. Noelle says

    OH MY GOSH! I’m going to make a double batch of this tummy love! Some for my beautiful family and the rest for ME!!! I would have never dreamed, these are two of my comfort foods mixed into one pan of heaven!!

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