Tangy Baked Vegetable Mac & Cheese

October 17, 2017

Who doesn’t love mac & cheese?

While this recipe isn’t exactly healthy, it’s got all the cheesy goodness of the original without all the fat and you’ll get a serving of veggies!

It takes me about an hour from start to finish and makes 8-10 servings.

What you’ll need:

16oz box of pasta (it’s really up to your preference what kind)

4 cups shredded sharp cheddar

3 cups milk

2-3 tbsp flour

1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

4-5 cups of chopped vegetables: we usually use summer squash, zucchini, bell peppers & broccoli

spices: chili powder, adobo, crushed red pepper flakes (optional, we usually use this, just didn’t have any this week so I used the Tajin spice we had)

spicy Panko breadcrumbs

How to pull it all together:

The general order that I use when making this meal is:

1) start the pasta

2) start the veggies

3) start the roux & cheese sauce

4) combine & bake

Here’s the step by step:

First put your pot of water on the stove to get it boiling. Also preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, start chopping all the vegetables. Spread them over a baking sheet or stone and drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper and toss to coat everything. Once the oven is hot, bake the vegetables for about 20 minutes. I usually check them half way through and toss them around again to make sure everything gets cooked evenly.

Once your water is boiling, cook the pasta. I tend to like it better when the pasta is an al dente texture.

Now it’s time to start the roux. This can be intimidating for first-timers, I know I was nervous. But really, it’s not that hard at all, just start slow and work your way up. (I also watched a YouTube video). Basically, a roux is a thickening sauce used in a variety of dishes — made with half fat, half flour.

In a large pan add about 1/4 cup of olive oil and put on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add sprinkle a heaping spoonful of flour across the pan. It will look something like this (above).

Using a whisk, gently but continuously stir the mixture while slowly adding milk. You want to make like a frothy sauce.

If you feel like you’ve added too much liquid at once, add a little bit more flour to thicken it up. This really is a technique you’ll start to master after trying it a few times. Just don’t rush and dump all the milk at once, take it easy and you’ll be fine.

Once you’ve whisked in all the milk, dump the cheese in and combine.

Now add all the spices. As you can see I’m pretty liberal as we like it spicy in our home, so just add what you’re comfortable with. I tend to add spice, stir in and taste and add more if I want more flavor.

Reduce to low heat and if you haven’t already, strain the pasta. Then toss the pasta right in the pan with the cheese. Stir to combine.

Now it’s time to check on your vegetables. I usually pick out one of each and taste test to make sure they’re tender enough. If they seem good, remove from oven and combine with the cheesy pasta in an oven safe baking dish. I use our oval stone dish.

Now it’s time for the breadcrumbs. I LOVE these, we use it for breading chicken too. They add a perfect crunch and flavor. Coat the top evenly.

Now pop the dish into the oven and broil on high for about 5 minutes. If you’re nervous about the top burning, just keep a close eye on it and remove when you think it’s done enough. I usually shut off the broiler and let the dish sit in the oven for a few minutes before removing.

What do you think? Are you up to adding veggies to your mac & cheese?

Let me know your thoughts!


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  • Reply Ana October 17, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    So many veggies! I love mac & cheese and I’m so glad I ran across this type of recipe. Definitely cooking this! Thanks for sharing <3

  • Reply Chrissy October 17, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    UMMMMM This looks soo good! i have been looking for ways to add more veggies into the family diet!! This would be a great way to try!

  • Reply Robyn Shaver October 19, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Omg….i want this!

  • Reply Renee October 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Looks great! I have never seen panko chipotle bread crumbs!! Love it!

  • Reply Katie Braswell October 19, 2017 at 9:40 am

    This is easily adapted to my family’s dietary restrictions!!! What a great recipe! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Trish October 19, 2017 at 9:42 am

    Oh my heavens, this looks sooooo good! What a great idea to put mac and cheese together with veggies. This is perfect and I’ll definitely have to try this.

  • Reply samantha October 19, 2017 at 10:45 am

    looks good. i love broccoli in my mac and cheese, i never though of adding summer squash.

  • Reply Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries October 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    I love that this is just loaded with so many veggies! Certainly much more healthy than the usual mac and cheese 🙂

  • Reply Rachael October 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    This looks amazing! I usually add broccoli, spinach, and shredded carrots to my toddler’s mac & cheese, but this looks like a great way to switch things up and I think that he would really like it! Always looking to incorporate more veggies into our day!

  • Reply Kristen Jones October 19, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Mmm! I definitely need to try this! It’s such a yummy way to add in more veggies!

  • Reply Felicia | The Starving Chef October 19, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I looooove this recipe! Mac and cheese is best when there’s some other flavors and textures folded in.

  • Reply Barbara October 20, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Looks yummy. I’m making it tomorrow as my friends are coming for dinner.

  • Reply Ashley @ GrowingSpangs October 20, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Comfort food with a serving of veggies?! Kids AND mom say YES! 😉

  • Reply Lamees October 25, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Wow. I always feel guilty whenever i cook mac and cheese for my kids. But after adding the veggies i will feel better as a mother

    • Reply Marie October 25, 2017 at 8:41 am

      Yes, my thoughts exactly!

  • Reply Jassy October 25, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I love Mac and Cheese! Never tried the baked version with vegetables. Can’t wait to try it out *.*

    XoXo Jassy

    • Reply Marie October 25, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Hope you enjoy it!

  • Reply Trisha October 25, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    This looks so good, love all the veggies and that roux is a beautiful thing, can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply Marie October 25, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      It’s amazingly delicious! I hope you love it too!

  • Reply Maria | passion fruit, paws and peonies October 25, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    A healthy mac and cheese – awesome, thanks x

  • Reply Bonnibelle October 25, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    Somehow, veg mac and cheese still looks delicious lol. Can’t wait to give this recipe a try! x

  • Reply Shea October 26, 2017 at 12:24 am

    I love Mac and Cheese. I love vegetables. I never thought about combining them! I am looking forward to trying this recipe 🙂

  • Reply Muhammad arif October 26, 2017 at 6:57 am

    i love this recipe its looking dam delicious thanks for sharing

  • Reply Mel October 26, 2017 at 7:48 am

    This looks delicious! I’m all for the veggies, but if I called it mac and cheese, my son & hubby might lose it! Lol, I can totally sneak it in on them, just don’t say the words mac and cheese. Can’t wait to try it!

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