A Healthier Spin on Mac and Cheese
elbow pasta (or other gluten-free pasta, if desired), cauliflower, butternut squash, cheddar cheese, fontina cheese, Parmesan cheese, sage, salt, and pepper
Stove top and baking
For years now, we've been touting the benefits of blending nutrient-packed veggies into the standard macaroni and cheese recipe. Doing so brings the calorie count way down, ups the nutritiousness, still delivers the yum factor, and fills you up without leaving you wanting. A bonus (especially for you picky eaters out there)? You can't even taste the veggies!
1 to 2 (8 ounce) boxes of elbow pasta (gluten-free pasta as necessary)
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small chunks
2 cups butternut squash, cut into small chunks
3 large fresh sage leaves, minced
1/2 of a 28-gram package of 2% reduced fat mild shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fontina cheese, shredded
1/2–3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Sea salt and coarse black pepper
Optional: 1–2 shallots or 1/2 yellow onion, diced
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Following instructions on packaging, cook pasta until al dente. Remove from pot and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, purée the cauliflower in a blender with splashes of water (to help it blend) until it's creamy but not too watery.
Boil the squash until soft in another deep pot. Once the squash is soft, drain, put back into the pot and mash until smooth and free of lumps, or smooth in a blender and return to the pot.
Add to the squash the puréed cauliflower, sage, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. (Feel free to add diced shallots or onions for additional flavor.) Stir well.
Add about 3/4 of the cheddar cheese (leaving the rest to sprinkle on top) and all of the fontina. Simmer while stirring until all the cheese is melted evenly. Remove from heat.
Add the cooked pasta into the veggie and cheese mixture. Add any desired additional salt and pepper.
Transfer the pasta mixture into a large casserole dish/glass dish and top evenly with the remaining cheddar cheese and the Parmesan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Serve and enjoy!