Here’s a perfect zero-waste lunch or dinner idea. Packed with power-veggies and comforting with the delicious melted cheese and smoky bacon.

The ingredients necessary for this meal are usually already on hand in most kitchens. The one thing that I do not buy every day is kale but if I do want to use it I always end up with an enormous bunch of it and will have to make a lots of kale-centered meals one after the other. This recipe occurred after making a batch of kale chips (I will post the recipe soon, promise). I also often have some kind of pasta left over in the fridge. Kids do love pasta and it makes a very easy and nice lunch for myself so I will actually often make too much pasta on purpose to have it ready for the next meal.

Cheesy pasta casserole with kale, zucchini and bacon recipe

The quantities in this recipe vary depending on what you have in your fridge and for how many people you are planning to make the dish. In my case it was just a solitary lunch for me so this is the amount for one person. Since it is really a clean-your-fridge-out meal I will not indicate very specific measures for anything.

This recipe is also very versatile; you can mix things up quite easily. For example, you can choose any other vegetables you wish to use. Spinach or broccoli can switch out the kale, any other squash will work instead of zucchini and to make it vegetarian you can just leave out the bacon. Make the meal your own with the things you have on hand.


About 1/3 cup of chopped bacon

One onion

One small zucchini

A small bunch of kale, 3 whole leaves in this particular case

Pinch of salt

Dried coriander (optional)

Garlic powder (optional)

One small plateful of cooked pasta

About 50-75 g (1/2 cup) of grated cheese (Gruyere here)


To prepare the kale remove the stems and chop the leaves into bite-size pieces. Place the kale into a bowl and massage it with your hands for about one to two minutes. Just mash and squeeze it a bit. This will help soften the fibers and make the leaves less stiff and easier to chew.

Heat your oven to 200 C (390 F).

Cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet on medium high heat until it is nice and browned.

Chop up the onion and the zucchini in small cubes. Add first the onion and then the zucchini to the bacon.

When everything in the skillet is a bit cooked through, add the kale leaves. Stir a bit, let cook for a few minutes and then pour in about half a cup of water. Cover the skillet and turn down the heat. Let everything cook for five minutes under the lid.

Remove the lid, stir the contents, add salt and some spices if you wish. Mix in the pasta and pour everything in an oven proof dish. Cover up with grated cheese and slide the dish to the oven for about 20 minutes.

And that’s it, your lunch is ready.

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