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Meat Free Monday, Pesto Macaroni Cheese Recipe

meat free monday text

It’s Monday again and as usual I have been menu planning for the week ahead. Last week I decided we needed to change things up a bit, so for a number of reasons I’ve decided to re-visit my Vegetarian days with meat-free Mondays.

“Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week. “

Co-incidentally just as I was scouring Pinterest for veggie recipes, exploring the Meat Free Monday site (I didn’t even know it was a proper ‘thing’) and ordering Hugh Fernley Whittingstall’s, Veg book in search of inspiration for non meat based meals, my husband was watching a Leonardo DeCaprio’s latest documentary  Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret! Weird huh! If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a real eye opener and if I hadn’t already made the decision to cut back on meat then this would have convinced me for sure!

meat free monday book cover

meat free monday book 1

Here’s my Meat-free Monday Pinterest Board if you want to follow:

Follow Wood Paper Scissors’s board Meat Free Monday on Pinterest.

Meat-Free Monday might sound like a bit of a fad, either your a veggie or not right?! I was a ‘proper’ vegetarian for two years back in school but I ended up becoming anaemic and fainted a lot so I slowly re-introduced meat back into my diet, I hadn’t really been eating enough veg or nutrients to make up for not eating meat and as a result was making myself ill. Now I’m a Mum and cook for everyone, every night I’m  far more aware of what I eat. I have decided to gradually cut back on meat just one or two nights a week to start with, initially this was to add more variety to my diet,  I want to eat more lovely veggie goodness every night. But it’s not just about that, I understand a little more now about the global picture and how eating meat (beef in particular) is really damaging our planet.

So although I’m not giving up meat totally right now as I think it would be a bit drastic and I would struggle to stick to it, I am definitely cutting back.

My first Meat-Free Monday recipe is Pesto Macaroni Cheese, it’s a combination of a few of my favourite recipes but is a bit of a concoction of whatever was in the cupboard.   

pasta macaroni 1

Pesto Macaroni Cheese

300g macaroni dried

200ml crème fraîche

1 small red onion chopped

1/2 jar olive and tomato pesto

1 red pepper chopped

175g cheddar cheese

1 tomato sliced


  • Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta, stir well, bring back to the boil and then cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes until both the pasta is tender but still firm to the bite. Drain well. Preheat a hot grill.
  • Pan fry the pepper and onion until soft.
  • Add the crème fraîche, pesto, onion, pepper and all but a good handful of the cheese to the pasta pan. Stir over a low heat until the cheese melts. Tip the drained pasta into the cheese sauce and gently stir together. Season and transfer to a flameproof dish.
  • Scatter the sliced tomatoes over the top followed by the rest of the cheese and some seasoning. Grill for about 5 minutes until browned and bubbling.


I served it with Roasted Butternut Squash and Tenderstem Brocoli.


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