Macaroni and cheese is one of those comfort dishes that never goes away. As a kid I loved it, and as an adult I still do– however I have come a long way in my preparation of the dish. It’s not so much about calorie counting, for me as it is about making the calories count. So there is still a little cheese in this dish (after all, it is Mac’n’Cheese), but the additional boost of veggies has helped give this dish a deliciously nutritious makeover that sacrifices none of the taste, but all of the guilt. This is a staple in my house, I have to make it for my kids weekly they love it so much. I would love to know what you all think of it. I bet you will love it!
Healthy Veggie Mac ‘n’ Cheese
1 lb. of “macaroni”*
1 butternut squash
1 sweet potato
1 cup of whole milk**
8 oz. block of extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated*** (it’s important to use extra sharp because you maintain flavor while using significantly less cheese)
1 tsp. turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 °F and bake the veggies on a parchment paper-lined pan for about 35 minutes. I usually cut the squash in half and turn down on the pan (skin side up) and put the rest of the veggies in whole. When all are soft but not roasted (you may need to take the sweet potato and carrots out a bit earlier than the squash) remove from skin and put into a pot with the liquid, over a stove on medium heat. (You may also roast a spaghetti squash at the same time in the oven to use as your pasta substitute or you can boil your elbow macaroni in a separate pot at this time.) Using an immersion blender, puree the potato, carrots and squash into an orange-colored soupy texture. When it is just about to boil, add in the shredded cheddar, spices, and mix well. Set aside until the pasta or spaghetti squash is finished. When the macaroni is ready, drain and stir with the creamy veggie cheese mixture. Feel free to sprinkle with a bit of cheddar or nutritional yeast over the top for added flavor.
*You decide what type of macaroni you would like to use. This can be a traditional semolina flour elbow macaroni, a gluten free brown rice elbow macaroni, an ancient grains quinoa pasta, etc. You may also substitute the grains altogether for (my favorite way to eat it) 1 whole, roasted and scraped spaghetti squash.
**Feel free to substitute this with unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk for a vegan option. I do this all the time and it tastes great!
***Vegan cheddar cheese substitute may be used for a dairy-free version.