Make cheese sauce according to recipe but add in the water, extra apple cider vinegar, mustard seed powder, chickpea miso and salt. Add slowly and taste as you go to get desired flavor. It will taste much stronger and be watery, but this is ok. When baking, it loses a bit of flavor and creaminess so this will make sure that it is perfectly flavored and creamy after baked.
Put all crispy topping ingredients into a food processor if using hemp seeds. Process until well combined. If using almond flour you can just mix it.
Cook pasta according to package directions but cook for about half the time stated. You will be baking this so this prevents mushy noodles. Your pasta should still be hard and not cooked, if you overcook then your noodles will end up mushy after baked, especially if using gluten-free noodles.
Once pasta is done, drain and rinse well to prevent too much starchiness in the baked dish.
Return to the pot and mix in the cheese sauce. Start with 2 cups but if you want it extra saucy add 2 ½.
Pour into a square baking dish. Sprinkle crispy topping over it evenly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy on top. Start checking at 15 minutes to ensure your pasta doesn’t overcook. Different pasta types cook differently. You can also broil the last few minutes to get it brown and extra crisp on the top.
Using hemp seeds gives a more crisp baked topping due to the oils in the hemp seeds. If you use almond flour it would be better to add a little butter or oil over the top to get the same crisp but it is still good without.
If you don’t have chickpea miso, you can try using a white miso although it will be a little more mild in flavor so you may need more, especially if you want it nice and sharp tasting.
Tips to prep ahead:
Make cheese sauce and crispy topping.
Baby/toddler food idea:
This can be baked a little longer for baby and pulsed into a smooth or chunkier food. If baby is new to foods, you can also leave out the extra spice/seasoning ingredients in the sauce and it will be less sharp.