This healthier mac and cheese is just as tasty and creamy as the classic version, but with more nutritious ingredients. It also includes a sneaky, hidden vegetable (that you probably wont even taste): butternut squash!
About This Recipe
This recipe is just the right mix of classic mac and cheese ingredients and their 'better for you' alternatives. It also skips the heavy cream (uses whole milk instead) and uses a little less butter and cheddar cheese while still staying plenty creamy and cheesy.
What Makes This Mac and Cheese 'Healthier'?
This mac and cheese is healthier than a store bought alternative because it's homemade and the sauce is made with real-food ingredients instead of a store-bought boxed powder or sauce. It also sneaks in a vegetable for some added nutrients (butternut squash).
This recipe is lighter and more nutrient-dense than a classic mac and cheese. But it still tastes incredible...It's creamy, cheesy and way better than the boxed, store-bought versions!
How to Make Healthier Mac and Cheese
This recipe is easy to make: you'll cook your pasta, make your sauce, and then mix the two together.
The sauce for this recipe is made in just a couple minutes by blending your butternut squash (I used frozen squash and heated it on the stovetop) with the milk. And then you'll add it to a large pan with the cheese until it melts and it's ready to be combined with the cooked pasta.
- Pasta: this recipe calls for whole wheat elbow pasta but you could use any medium-sized noodle (penne, rotini, or shells). You can also use plain pasta or an alternative (like chickpea pasta).
- Milk: I like to use whole milk, which makes this recipe the creamiest; but you could use any type of milk or a dairy-free alternative (just note that it may alter the flavor of the recipe).
- Butternut squash: you can use fresh or frozen squash. I tend to use a bag of cubed, frozen squash since it saves time.
Frequently Asked Questions
A blender is recommended because it will give the sauce a smooth texture. A potato masher or mixer will also work but your sauce may not be completely smooth.
The sauce on this mac and cheese is the best part! It's naturally thick and creamy, but if you want to make it even thicker you can simmer it for longer, add less liquid (milk) or stir in up to 1 tablespoon of flour.
If you have leftovers, cool and store them in an airtight container for up to 3 - 5 days in the fridge.