This creamy mushroom pasta bake with kale is a delicious veggie dinner. Pasta, mushrooms and kale in a creamy cheesy sauce baked with a crispy topping. This is perfect comfort food and a great weeknight dinner.
Perfect for a tasty weeknight dinner this mushroom pasta bake is easy to make and the whole family will love it. This recipe comes with an added bonus: the kids won't even know there is kale in this!
We love pasta bakes and I make them on a regular basis, my broccoli pasta bake is one of the most popular recipes on this blog. We know our pasta bakes! So I like to switch it up a bit and add a crunchy cheesy topping to this pasta bake just to take it up a level. It's optional but recommended.
Why This Recipe Works
- Garlicky mushrooms and kale cooked with thyme are a match made in heaven!
- That creamy cheesy sauce brings everything together.
- Pasta is always a winner for a tasty weeknight dinner
- That cheesy crispy topping is next-level tasty!
What You'll Need
This recipe is a simple combination of mushrooms, kale and pasta and some store cupboard ingredients.
How To Make Creamy Mushroom Pasta Bake
This is just a quick visual guide. Please see the recipe card below for the full instructions and ingredients list.
- Cook the onion until soft then add the mushrooms, thyme, and garlic, and cook until the mushrooms release their juices.
- Add the kale to the pan, stir it in with the mushrooms and cook until the kale is just wilted.
- Make the sauce. Once you have a creamy sauce take it off the heat then add the cheese.
- Cook and drain the pasta, then transfer it to a large casserole pan. Add the mushroom and kale mixture and stir.
- Pour the sauce over the pasta then carefully mix everything together.
- Top with the cheesy breadcrumb mixture, cover with foil then bake in the oven.
Ingredient Notes And Substitutions
- Mushrooms - Chestnut mushrooms work best for this pasta bake, they have just the right amount of earthy mushroom flavour. But you can, of course, use white button mushrooms.
- Kale - As happy as I would be to have an all mushroom pasta bake, I like to add some greens and kale fits the bill nicely. It's a nice change from spinach, but if you prefer spinach then that works great too, you may need to up the quantity though. I used curly kale, shredded with the woody stalks removed.
- Pasta - I have made this pasta bake with various types of pasta, penne or fusilli work best. Wholegrain pasta works really well too.
- Milk - Use whatever milk you have to hand. I used semi-skimmed milk to make the sauce. It doesn't need any cream but if you want to make this even more luxurious then I would add a little double/heavy cream.
- Mustard - Dijon mustard is best for this sauce. If you are stuck and don't have it then you could make it with English mustard. English mustard is stronger in flavour so I would use less of this if you use it.
- Butter - For this recipe, I use salted butter, the Irish kind. You can use unsalted if you wish.
- Panko Breadcrumbs - These are probably the only ingredient for this recipe that you may not have in your cupboard. They are Japanese breadcrumbs that are extra crispy and most big supermarkets stock them now. You should find them in the world food aisle.
Tips For Making The Best Mushroom Pasta Bake
- Wipe your mushrooms clean instead of washing them, mushrooms soak up water! Use a vegetable brush if you wish.
- Don't overcook the mushrooms and kale. The kale needs to be just wilted and the mushrooms just cooked. They will cook further in the oven.
- Cook your pasta at least 5 minutes under the recommended time on the packet. The pasta will cook more in the oven.
Some FAQs About This Mushroom Pasta Bake
Do you cook the pasta before making a pasta bake? Yes, I recommend cooking the pasta before you bake it. If you don't cook it beforehand it will take longer for the pasta bake to cook. The pasta would also be too hard. Dry pasta, which is used in this recipe, needs to be hydrated and water is the best way to do that.
Should you cover a pasta bake? I recommend loosely covering almost all pasta bakes. This one in particular needs to be covered to stop the topping from burning and the sauce from drying out. I recommend removing the foil halfway through cooking so the topping browns up a bit.
Can I freeze mushroom pasta? This pasta bake is really best made and eaten on the day, but if you need to you can freeze it for another time. Once you've cooked the pasta bake, leave it to cool and then freeze it whole or slice into portions in separate containers or freezer bags. Thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat in the oven until piping hot. Please note there may be some loss of liquid if you freeze this dish.
How do I reheat leftover pasta bake? I find that the best way to reheat a pasta bake is to cover it with foil, place it in a preheated oven, then heat until piping hot. The pasta will soak up almost all if the sauce so you will have a drier pasta dish but it still tastes great in my experience.
More Pasta Dinner Inspiration
We love pasta for a tasty weeknight dinner and one of my all-time favourites is this Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta, this is so easy to make and tastes amazing! If you prefer your pasta with a tomato sauce then check out my Vegetable Pasta Bake this is another readers' favourite pasta dish. Or try my Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, another family favourite.
Have you made this Creamy Mushroom Pasta Bake Recipe? Rate it and leave me a comment below to let me know what you think.
Creamy Mushroom Pasta Bake with Kale
- 1 medium brown onion chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 350 g /12oz chestnut/brown mushrooms wiped clean then sliced
- 1 heaped tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 100 g /1 and ½ cups of shredded curly kale woody stems removed
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 350 g (dry weight) pasta I used penne pasta
- 30 g /½ a cup of breadcrumbs I used Panko breadcrumbs (optional)
- 45 g ½ of a cup of finely grated hard Italian cheese I used a veggie pecorino
- 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
For the sauce
- 50 g / ¼ of a cup of butter I used salted butter
- 50 g / ⅓ of a cup of plain/all-purpose flour
- 500 ml / 1 pint of milk I used semi-skimmed milk
- ½ tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 45 g /½ a cup of finely grated pecorino cheese
- Preheat the oven to 180C/356F fan, 200C/392F conventional oven.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan, add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat until the onions are soft, about 10 minutes.Add a tablespoon of butter to the pan once it has melted add the mushrooms, thyme and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the mushrooms release their juices. Stir once or twice.
- Next, add the garlic and the kale, stir well and cook until the kale wilts slightly, for about 5 minutes. Set aside and keep warm by popping a lid on the pan.Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet minus 5 minutes.
To Make The Sauce
- Melt 50g or ¼ cup of butter in a saucepan, add the 50g or ⅓ of a cup of plain(all-purpose flour) and stir well. Cook for two minutes then start slowly adding the milk. Use a whisk to prevent lumps forming. Keep whisking until you have a thick creamy sauce. Once the sauce is thick and creamy stir in ½ a tablespoon of dijon mustard.Season the sauce with ¼ teaspoon of fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.Bring the sauce to the boil then remove from the heat.Stir in 45g or ½ a cup of finely grated pecorino cheese.Set aside until you are ready to use it.
Making The Pasta Bake
- When the pasta is done drain it then tip it into a large casserole dish. Stir in the mushroom and kale mixture then gently stir in the sauce.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parmesan over the pasta then bake.Loosely cover the dish with tin foil then place on oven 25 to 30 minutes.Remove the foil halfway through cooking to brown the topping.Leave to cool slightly then serve.
- Pasta - Penne or fusilli pasta is best for this recipe. Wholewheat pasta works well too.
- Milk - I used semi-skimmed milk for this recipe, you can use full-fat milk if you wish.
- Butter - Salted butter is my butter of choice for this, you can use unsalted butter if you wish.
- Freezing/reheating/leftovers - This dish really is best made adn eaten fresh however you can freeze it if you wish. I would omit the topping if I were to freeze this. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 2 - 3 days and can be reheated in the oven.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutritional tool, it is approximate and is based on one serving of four. It is based on the nutritional values of dry weight pasta.
- For US readers - I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy. For best results, I recommend weighing all ingredients if possible.
*This recipe was first published on Jan 25, 2018. It has now been updated with new photos and more nutritional information.