Cereal Milk Kugel (Photo/Faith Kramer)
Cereal Milk Kugel (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Kugel topped with sugary cereal is the treat you need right now

These times call for comfort foods, and perhaps no food is more comforting than a rich, creamy noodle kugel. Here are two modern takes on the Eastern European favorite.

Cereal Milk Kugel is perfect for your inner (or actual) child — lots of brightly colored, fruit-flavored breakfast cereal tops the kugel, and cereal-flavored milk is the basis for the custard that binds the noodles.

Creamy Southwest Mac and Cheese Kugel is topped with crunchy tortilla chips. It is vegan and parve. If you prefer, replace the non-dairy ingredients with dairy versions.

Cereal Milk Kugel

Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 oz. noodles or bow tie pasta
  • 4 cups fruit-flavored cereal, divided, plus extra for garnish (see note)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup plain whole or 2-percent fat Greek yogurt, plus extra for garnish
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbs. butter, cut in small pieces

Prepare noodles according to package directions until cooked but firm to the bite. Drain. Combine 1 cup cereal with milk, stirring occasionally until milk has taken on the cereal’s flavor (about 20 minutes). Strain milk, pressing on cereal with a spoon. Measure 1 cup of flavored milk. Toss cereal. Discard or drink excess milk.

Lightly brush 8-by-8-inch baking pan with 1 to 2 Tbs. melted butter. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk (until smooth) milk, remaining melted butter, sugar, vanilla and yogurt. Whisk in eggs. Stir in noodles. Place half of mixture in pan. Scatter 1 cup dry cereal on top. Cover with remaining noodles. Dot top with half of the cut-up butter. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle 1 cup cereal on top, dot with remaining butter and return to oven 15 to 25 minutes, until baked through and firm to the touch. (Do not burn topping!) Remove from oven. Cool 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cup of cereal (for color and crunch). Top individual servings with yogurt and more cereal, if desired. Serve warm or hot.

Note: Any colorful, fruit-flavored loop or round cereal should do the trick.

Southwest Mac and Cheese Kugel

Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 oz. noodles or bow tie pasta
  • 4 Tbs. oil, divided, plus extra for pan
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1 cup unflavored, unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes with liquid
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne
  • 4-oz. can diced green chiles, drained
  • 2½ cups vegan shredded cheese, divided (see note)
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 1 cup broken corn tortilla chips (broken into ½-inch pieces)
  • 2 to 3 Tbs. chopped cilantro or parsley
Southwest Mac and Cheese Kugel (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Prepare noodles according to package directions until cooked but firm to the bite. Drain. Grease 8-by-8-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onions until softened. Add garlic. Sauté until golden. Remove from pan. Do not clean pan. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add remaining oil. Stir in flour, stirring until it bubbles. (Do not brown.) Slowly whisk in non-dairy milk. Once well combined, add tomatoes with their juices. Stir well. Simmer uncovered, stirring often (lower heat if needed) until thickened and reduced by about half. Stir in onions and garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and chiles. Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese until mostly melted. Taste and adjust seasonings. Mix with drained noodles in large bowl with additional 1 cup shreds. Pour into baking pan. Sprinkle top with ½ cup shreds and paprika. Bake 20 minutes. Top with chips. Return to oven 15 to 25 minutes until baked through and firm to the touch. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving garnished with cilantro.

Note: Use commercially shredded cheddar-style vegan cheese or a cheese mix which includes cheddar. Look for one that specifies it melts well. I used Daiya Classic Blend.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is faithkramer.com. Contact her at [email protected].