Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup – easy vegetable soup with a flavour of Morocco

This Spiced Sweet Potato Soup brings together my love of home-made vegetable soup with my love of Moroccan food. It is not a Moroccan recipe but uses spices used in North African stews or tagines. One of the reasons that I particularly like Morocan food is the combination of savoury and sweet ingredients (think Lamb Tagine with Apricots) and its gentle use of spice.

This very simple soup has all these elements. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes provides the perfect vehicle for the spices. Cumin, cinnamon and turmeric provide an exotic and warming note. If you want your soup to have a bit more heat, you can add some cayenne to the mix. I generally add half a teaspoon but you can either leave it out altogether or add more (although I wouldn’t go over one teaspoon) to give the soup a bit more heat. If you don’t have any sweet potatoes to hand, you can use butternut squash or pumpkin as alternatives.

Although I make this soup all year around, I particularly like to make it in January and February. Where I live, these are generally cold, rainy months. A bowl of tasty, healthy soup, sweet and savoury flavoured with gently spices is just what I crave. Not only does this soup taste good, it also looks cheerful with its rich orange colour. I eat it during the cold, English winter and dream of  Marrakech.

Other home-made soup recipes

I have lots of easy, vegetable soup recipes. If you like this Spiced Sweet Potato Soup, you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Fennel Soup or Jerusalem Artichoke Soup and showcase a single vegetable. Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup, Celeriac and Apple SoupMushroom and Chestnut SoupPumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.

Dukkah – an easy and versatile ingredient

I sprinkle a bit of home-made dukkah on the top of this soup. If you would like to make your own version of this versatile nut and spice mix, have a look at my easy dukkah recipe. It think it looks good as decoration on top of my soup but it also adds an extra punch of spicy flavour and fantastic crunchy texture. Dukkah is a traditional North African nutty roasted spice mix which can be used to add flavour and texture to all kinds of dishes. You can buy it ready-made but truly it is far better when you make it at home and it is extremely easy to make. If you are interested in making your own

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Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

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Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 17
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This quick and easy Spiced Sweet Potato Soup is filled with Moroccan flavours.  Its rich, orange colour and savoury taste will warm you up on a cold winter’s day.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 25 g butter or 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • Half a teaspoon of cayenne (optional)
  • 500 ml of vegetable stock
  • A little yogurt and dukkah to decorate (optional)

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup


Instructions

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onions.

  2. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes.

  3. Heat the butter or oil in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.

  4. Cook gently over a low heat for around 15 minutes until the vegetables are starting to caramelise.  

  5. Add the cumin, cinnamon, turmeric to the vegetables.  If you want the soup to have a bit of chilli heat, you can also add the cayenne at this point.  Cook for a further two minutes.  
  6. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to simmering point.   Cook gently for 15 minutes.

  7. Blend the soup in a food processor or by using a hand blender. 

  8. The soup will be quite thick.  You can add a little additional water to thin it to your desired consistency. 

  9. When you are ready to serve the soup, reheat it gently and pour into individual bowls.  If you wish, you can decorate each bowl with a swirl of plain yogurt and a sprinkle of dukkah.

Spiced Sweet Potato Soup


Notes

This soup is vegetarian but can easily made vegan by using vegetable oil instead of butter and omitting the yogurt.

If you do not have any sweet potatoes, you can use butternut squash or pumpkin to make this soup.

Keywords: soup, sweet potatoes, spices, Moroccan, vegetarian

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Recipes Made Easy and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday 

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Dukkah Recipe

Easy Dukkah Recipe

This easy Dukkah recipe produces a nutty, roasted spice mix which can be used to add flavour and texture to all kinds of dishes. It is also a really good way to increase your intake of nuts and seeds which are packed full of nutrients.

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I am a strong advocate for home-made versus shop-bought products. You can buy ready-made Dukkah in most supermarkets but, once you have tried making your own, I very much doubt that you will buy it. Nuts and spice are best fresh and there is really no comparison in terms of flavour.

I love the process of cooking as well as the end results. Standing by the stove and smelling the wonderful roasted nut and toasted seed flavours is very much part of the pleasure of making Dukkah. If you have ever been to North Africa, you can just close your eyes and be transported back!

What is Dukkah and how long does it last?

Dukkah is a traditional North African blend of nuts, seeds and spices. Once you have made it, you can keep it in an air-tight container for two weeks. It also freezes well. I tend to make a big batch, divide it into smaller amounts, and keep them in the freezer in small containers until I want to use them.

What are the uses for Dukkah?

Traditionally, Dukkah is eaten with fresh vegetables and bread which are dipped in oil and then dipped in the spice mix. However, there are lots of other ways that it can be used.

  • Use as a topping for dips such as hummus. (I use it on my Butternut Squash Hummus.)
  • Add to a sandwich to add crunch and flavour.
  • Sprinkle on the top of soup such as my Spiced Sweet Potato Soup.
  • Sprinkle on top of a salad.
  • Use as a coating for grilled or fried vegetables, fish or meat.
  • Eat handfuls as a snack when you get the munchies. (Yes, I do this, I’m afraid.)
Ingredients for Dukkah

What are the ingredients in Dukkah?

There are many different versions of Dukkah using a range of combinations of nuts and seeds. In fact, one of the great things about it is that you can change the ingredients to suit your own tastes. My Dukkah recipe is given on this page but you can change the proportions and the ingredients. However, there are a few basic guidelines.

  • Dukkah consists of a mixture of nuts and seeds which are dry roasted in order to bring out their flavour and to enhance their crispy texture.
  • You can use pretty much any kind of nut, or combination of nuts, but traditionally almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts are used.
  • Versions of Dukkah include a range of seeds and spices. Traditionally, it can include sunflower seeds, pumpkin and sesame seeds for crunch and coriander, fennel and cumin for flavour.
  • The nuts and seeds are processed or chopped rather than being left whole. You can either go for a finely chopped mixture or leave it more chunky. I blend the nuts and some of the seeds but leave the sunflower and pumpkin seeds intact as I like the coarser texture.
  • You can make Dukkah without any salt if you are trying to reduce your salt intake. This is the healthier option and it will still taste good. However, I choose to add salt to mine as I think it enhances the flavour.

Easy Dukkah Recipe

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Dukkah - North African Spice Mix

Dukkah Recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 4
  • Cook Time: 11
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Spices
  • Cuisine: North African

Description

This home-made Dukkah Recipe is packed full of the taste of toasted nuts, seeds and spices.   Use it to add flavour to soups, dips, salads and sandwiches.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 50 g walnut halves or pieces
  • 50 g almonds
  • 50 g hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 50 g pumpkin seeds
  • 50 g sunflower seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Put the walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts in a large frying pan.  Heat gently for around five minutes, stirring regularly, until the nuts are starting to go brown.  
  2. Add the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and sesame seeds to the pan and continue to heat gently until the seeds are also starting to brown.
  3. Remove the mixture of toasted nuts and seeds from the pan and roughly chop using a food processor.  Do not over-process as you want a rough mixture rather than a fine powder.  Put the processed mixture into a large bowl.
  4.  Using the same frying pan, heat the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for three minutes until they are lightly toasted.  They will begin to go shiny and “pop” when they are done.
  5. Add the toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds to the bowl.  Add the cumin.  Add salt if you wish to do so.  I generally add it to my dukkah but, if you are trying to be ultra-healthy, you can leave it out.  Mix to combine.

Notes

You need to watch the nuts and seeds while they are toasting to make sure that they don’t burn.  Stirring regularly helps prevent this too.

Dukkah will keep for two weeks in an airtight container.  It also freezes well.

Keywords: dukkah, spice, nuts

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Cooking with My Kids and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and [email protected]

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Easy and healthy vegetarian Jerusalem Artichoke soup

This Jerusalem Artichoke soup is extremely easy to make and showcases the delicious, nutty flavour of this much underused vegetable. In addition to the artichokes, it uses onions to add an additional depth of flavour and potatoes to thicken up the texture and, apart from some vegetable stock, that is it!

Why make your own soup?

I am a great fan of home-made vegetarian soups and make them all the year around. However, I think in winter, particularly after the excesses of Christmas and New Year, they are exactly what I want to cook and eat. They are very easy to make, requiring little or no culinary expertise, taste delicious and are a brilliant way to increase your intake of vegetables. There are lots of reasons why it is worth making your own soup rather than using ready-made soup from a packet.

  • It is very easy to make your own soup. You can also make it in advance and re-heat when you wish to eat it. It will keep for several days in the refrigerator and can be frozen for up to a year.
  • They are delicious and you can use vegetables or combinations of vegetables that you particularly like. Once you know the basic soup-making techniques you can use these to make all kinds of vegetable soup. Personally, I like to showcase one or two vegetables in each soup recipe, with one or two additional flavours, but you can let your imagination go with possible combinations according to your taste. In addition to Jerusalem Artichokes, I think that the following vegetables are really good soup ingredients: onions, leeks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, beetroot, tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, peas and spinach. I am not overly keen on brassica-based soup (cauliflower, broccoli etc) but that is just a matter of personal taste!
  • They will contain lots of nutrients from the vegetables that go into them and also include a lot of vegetable fibre which is great for your digestion. You can control you can control the amount of salt and fat included which means that generally they are healthier that shop-bought equivalents.

Lots of lovely soup!

As you might expect, I have a lot of soup recipes! All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Fennel Soup and showcase a single vegetable. Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Celeriac and Apple Soup, Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup, Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.

Easy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup recipe

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This quick and easy vegetarian Jerusalem Artichoke Soup showcases the delicious nutty flavour of this under-used vegetable.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 50 g butter or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 kilo jerusalem artichokes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large potatoes (around 350 g)
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock

Jerusalem Artichokes


Instructions

  1. Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan or casserole.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the onion and the jerusalem artichokes and add to the pan.  Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and fry them very gently for around 15 minutes until the onions are translucent and the artichoke pieces are beginning to soften.
  3. Peel and chop the potatoes and add to the pan with the onion and artichoke pieces.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Blend the soup until smooth in a food processor or with a hand-held blender.
  6. If the soup is too thick, you can add a little water to thin it to the desired consistency. 

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup


Notes

You can make this soup vegan by just using vegetable oil. 

Keywords: soup, jerusalem artichokes, vegetarian, vegan

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip and Apple Soup

A vegan soup which combines parsnips with a mild curry flavour and apple for a hint of sweetness

Fennel Soup - vegan or vegetarian

Fennel Soup

Easy vegetarian soup highlighting the aniseed taste of fresh fennel

Mushroom and Chestnut Soup

Mushroom and Chestnut Soup

Easy vegetarian soup combining mushrooms and sweet chestnuts

Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup

Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup

Delicious winter soup

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Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup with Apple

This vegetarian Curried Parsnip Soup with Apple may be the perfect winter soup. The sweetness of the apple boosts the flavour of the parsnips. The gentle spice from the curry powder adds interest to the soup and enhances its warming qualities. Perfect for a cold winter’s day!

This soup is based on an old curry sauce recipe that I inherited from my mother. The recipe is a 1970s version of curry sauce – nothing fancy or sophisticated – and is very simple with medium curry powder, onion, apple and garlic being the primary ingredients. I use the sauce recipe for making my traditional Boxing Day turkey curry and, while I was doing that this year, I wondered whether it could be adapted to make a soup.

Parsnips love a bit of curry flavouring so I decided to use them as the main ingredient. I also added a potato to tone down the parsnip flavour just a bit and to thicken up the soup. I think the flavour is just right – not too parsnippy and not too spicy. My initial taste trials, so far limited to my teenage children, have been very positive. In fact, this soup has been described as “banging” which clearly is an accolade to which I aspire in all my recipes.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Super soup – the perfect weekday lunch

As with all vegetable soups, this recipe can be made in advance and re-heated when required. It can also be frozen and defrosted when needed. I generally make a big batch of soup and then freeze it in individual portions. I can then defrost a portion for my lunch or for my children’s lunchboxes. This works well as long as you make sure that the labels on the portions are legible. I have notoriously bad handwriting – my excuse being that I spend most of my time using a keyboard – and sometimes even I cannot read what I have written. This means that I may sometimes be expecting parsnip soup for my lunch but end up with potato and leek as they are a similar colour!

For me, home-made soup is the perfect lunch as it can be made in advance, is tasty and healthy and is just that bit more fortifying than a sandwich. It also fills you up – there is a lot of fibre in those veggies – so it reduces those mid-afternoon snack cravings. My working life is split between home-working and office working. If it is a day when I am office-based, I heat the soup before I leave for work and take it with me in a thermos. All I need is a roll or a slice of bread – and maybe a bit of fruit for afters – and that is lunch sorted.

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Other home-made soup recipes

I have lots of easy, vegetable soup recipes. If you like this Curried Parsnip Soup, you might like some of the others. All my soups are vegetarian and all can be made vegan by substituting animal fats, such as butter, for vegetable fats. Some of them are pretty simple such as Fennel Soup and showcase a single vegetable. Others combine vegetables which have complimentary flavours such as Celeriac and Apple Soup, Mushroom and Chestnut Soup, Pumpkin and Sweetcorn Soup or Leek and Potato Soup. A few have more unusual combinations of flavours such as Beetroot Soup with Coconut or Butternut and Peanut Butter Soup. I also have a few chilled soup recipes, which are fantastic cold in the summer, but can also be served warm such as Asparagus and Pea and Tomato.

Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup with Apple

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Curried Parsnip Soup

Curried Parsnip Soup

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 17
  • Total Time: 32 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Curried Parsnip Soup is mildly spicy and sweetened with apple.  Healthy, easy to make, warming and delicious, it is the perfect winter soup.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 parsnips
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 sweet eating apple
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 teaspoons of medium curry powder
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • Plain vegan yogurt and turmeric (optional)

Curried Parsnip Soup


Instructions

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onions.
  2. Peel and roughly chop the parsnips.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan and add the chopped vegetables.  Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cook gently over a low heat for around 15 minutes until the vegetables are starting to caramelise. 
  5. Crush the garlic clove.  Peel, core and roughly chop the apple.  Peel and roughly chop the potato.  Add the garlic, apple and potato to the pan.
  6. Stir in the curry powder and cook for two minutes.
  7. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and bring to simmering point.   Cook gently for 15 minutes.
  8. Blend the soup in a food processor or by using a hand blender.
  9. The soup will be quite thick.  You can add a little additional water to thin it to your desired consistency.
  10. When you are ready to serve the soup, reheat it gently and pour into individual bowls.  If you wish, you can decorate each bowl with a swirl of plain vegan yogurt and a sprinkle of ground turmeric.

Curried Parsnip Soup


Notes

This soup is vegan.  If you are not a vegan, you can substitute butter for the vegetable oil and use non-vegan yogurt.

Keywords: parsnip, apple, curried, soup, vegetarian

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Peachick Bakery and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and Diann of Goats and Greens

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

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Easy Macaroni Cheese

This Easy Macaroni Cheese is the perfect make-ahead supper dish. If is rich, creamy and cheesy with a crispy top. If you are looking for vegetarian comfort food, which will be equally popular with non-veggies, look no further.

A traditional family recipe…

In my family, serving this Macaroni Cheese has become a Christmas Eve tradition. On the day before Christmas, when everyone is gathering, I have to feed a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarians of all ages and a spectrum of general food pickiness. This dish seems to hit the spot as it is warming and comforting and also has a simplicity that is welcome when we all know we are going to have a blow-out meal the next day. I serve it with a green salad dressed with a sharp vinaigrette to balance the cheesy richness of the pasta.

We also eat it on lots of other occasions, in both winter and summer, as it so popular and can be made ahead of time. If like me you are more of a “kitchen-supper” rather than dinner party style of host, it is a great dish to serve. Everything is done in advance – you just need to put it in the oven to warm through – so you can focus on talking to your guests rather than doing complicated things in the kitchen.

…but with a twist

There are many, many recipes for Macaroni Cheese. This one, which has developed over the years, has three elements that I think sets it apart from others. First off, it is topped with breadcrumbs and grated cheese which means that it has a fantastic crispy top which sets off the soft, creamy pasta. Secondly, it is a bit spicy. We discovered that adding a lot of cayenne was a good thing when my daughter made this recipe when she was quite young and mistook a dessert spoon for a teaspoon. We ate the first mouthful with trepidation but discovered that actually having a bit of heat cuts through the richness of the cheese sauce and improves the flavour of the dish. The third and final element is that there is a delicious secret hidden within this traditional-looking Macaroni Cheese. In the middle of the dish is a layer of sweet, soft caramelised onions which work brilliantly to lift flavour of the cheesy pasta.

What would we do without pasta?

I love pasta so much that I sometimes wonder if I might have some unknown Italian ancestor! It is so easy, versatile and so universally liked – by adults, children, vegetarians and meat-eaters – that it appears on our table several times each week. If you are looking for other simple pasta supper recipes you might also like my quick and easy recipes for Creamy Mushroom Pasta and Smoked Salmon Pasta with Fennel.

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Easy Macaroni Cheese with Caramelised Onions

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Macaroni Cheese

Easy Macaroni Cheese

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Easy Macaroni Cheese recipe combines rich, creamy pasta with a crunchy topping, a dash of cayenne heat and a secret layer of caramelised onions.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter (25 g plus 100 g)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
  • 350 g macaroni
  • 55 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 860 ml milk
  • 350 g strong, hard cheese  such as mature cheddar
  • salt and pepper 
  • 50 g fresh breadcrumbs

Macaroni Cheese


Instructions

  1. Put 25 g of the butter and the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and place over a very low heat.  
  2. Peel and roughly chop the onions and add them to the pan.   Cook the onions very gently for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The aim is to caramelise the onions so that they are a light golden colour and their natural sweetness is enhanced.   When the onions are done, season with salt and stir in the soft brown sugar.  Set aside until required.
  3.  While the onions are gently cooking, cook the macaroni in a pan of salted, boiling water according to the instructions on the packet.  This would normally take around 10-15 minutes.   When it is cooked, drain the hot water from the pasta and put it back in the saucepan covered with cold water to prevent it clumping together.
  4. Make the cheese sauce by melting the remaining 100 g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan.  Add the flour, mix it into the butter and cook gently for 2 minutes.   Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir the milk into the butter and flour mixture.  Put the saucepan back onto the heat and stir until the sauce has thickened.   Grate the cheese and add 300 g to the sauce.   Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain the cooked macaroni and add it to the cheese sauce.
  6. Pour half of the mixture into a rectangular dish of approximately 40 cm x 25 cm.   Spread the caramelised onions on top and then add the other half of the mixture.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining 50 g of grated cheese on top together with the breadcrumbs.    
  8. Heat your oven to 200 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 6 and bake the macaroni cheese for 30 minutes.   When it is done, it will be hot all through and the top will be crisp and golden.

Macaroni Cheese


Notes

It is very easy to make your own breadcrumbs by whizzing stale bread in a food processor for a few minutes.  They can then be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen for several months.

You can make the macaroni cheese a day in advance up until step 7 and keep it in the fridge.  Make sure that you allow it to come back up to room temperature before heating in the oven. 

Keywords: macaroni, cheese, pasta bake, vegetarian

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and Zeba at Food for the Soul

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

Easy week-night supper recipe using musrooms and chestnuts.

Cheese Biscuits

Cheese Biscuits with Chilli

Easy make-ahead snack to serve with drinks or for lunch-boxes

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

Cheese Muffins with Chilli Jam

Easy savoury muffins – great for lunch-boxes and picnics

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