Over the past few months I’ve been working on my holy grail: Healthy macaroni and cheese.
Swapping the pasta for 100% whole wheat is a given. The real challenge is reducing the saturated fat and sodium while keeping the savory deliciousness of a great mac ‘n’ cheese.
Instead of using low-fat cheese (or even less cheese), I wanted to see if I could do it without any cheese at all — but I’m not making it vegan, either. There are already a handful of good vegan mac and cheese recipes out there, and besides, it’s more fun to reinvent the wheel.
The best I can hope for is that my version will satisfy the craving for a big ol’ plate of my friend Emily’s amazing full-fat (full-everything!) Mac’n’Cheese.
So far, this recipe comes pretty close to achieving that. It tastes good… but it still isn’t quite macaroni and cheese.
I add Nutritional Yeast which helps give it a cheesy, nutty flavor, along with some B vitamins. I also sneak in cauliflower for bonus nutritional benefit, and I particularly love serving it with a side of stewed tomatoes (also stolen from Emily’s playbook — thanks, Em!).
Have any ideas on how to improve this recipe? Please share in the comments!
- 1 pound 100% Whole Wheat Pasta Shells or Elbows
- ¾ head steamed Cauliflower
- 1 cup Fat-Free Milk
- 4 Large Eggs
- ¾ cup Nutritional Yeast
- 2 Tablespoons Non-Hydrogenated Margarine
- 1 cup Water leftover from steaming cauliflower
- 1 teaspoon ground Mustard Powder
- ½ teaspoon ground Turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Boil the pasta until it is al dente. While that’s cooking, steam ¾ head of cauliflower until soft (about 10-15 minutes), saving the water in the bottom of the pot.
- Allow the cauliflower to cool a bit, then add all the ingredients, except the pasta, to a blender and purée until smooth, making a very thin sauce. Layer the pasta and sauce together in a deep baking dish, stirring gently to be sure the pasta is completely covered.
- Bake, covered, at 375F for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes.
- To check for doneness, and that the egg is cooked thoroughly, make sure it has firmed up in the center — if it’s still liquid, put it back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Simple Stewed Tomatoes
1 large can Diced Tomatoes
2 slices 100% Whole Wheat Bread, torn into chunks
Basil, Oregano, Garlic, and Pepper to taste
Heat all the ingredients in a saucepan, stirring frequently. Simmer for a couple minutes and serve.