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!
Healthy Mac un’Cheese
1 pound 100% Whole Wheat Pasta Shells or Elbows
3/4 head steamed Cauliflower
1 cup Fat-Free Milk
4 Large Eggs
3/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
2 Tbs. Non-Hydrogenated Margarine
1 cup Water leftover from steaming cauliflower
1 tsp. ground Mustard Powder
1/2 tsp. ground Turmeric
1/4 tsp. Salt
Boil the pasta until it is al dente. While that’s cooking, steam 3/4 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.
Makes 8 servings.
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.