Grain Free, Veggie-Packed Mac and Cheese

We had this Grain Free, Veggie-Packed Mac and Cheese for dinner last night, and my husband made sure to tell me how much he loved it (he’s a food for fuel kind of guy most of the time, so when he compliments a recipe, he really means it). Then, at lunch time today as he ate last night’s leftovers, he text me from work just to tell me again how good this mac and cheese is. And he’s right, this stuff is REALLY good.

Not only does it taste really good, but it’s really good for you, I swear. First, I used one of my new favorite grocery store finds: Banza pasta. It’s “pasta” made from garbanzo beans… at only $3.49 a box, it doesn’t break the bank. It has TONS of protein (25g a serving, and let’s be honest, I eat more than a serving), and it’s high in fiber (13g a serving)! And, it’s lower carb than any other pastas I’ve tried. I found it on the shelves at my local grocery store, so you shouldn’t have to go too far to find it!
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So, this Banza pasta is an amazing starting point for any pasta dish at home. I added hidden veggies, lots of flavor, and basically created the most delicious, healthy mac and cheese you can imagine.

Okay, so I have your attention now, right? This is how you make it!

First, bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Salt the water and add your Banza pasta. Allow the pasta to cook for 9-10 minutes until tender, then drain and rinse.

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While the macaroni is cooking, place your small pieces of broccoli and cauliflower on a sheet pan lined with foil for easy cleanup. I cut the pieces really small so that they blend in with the macaroni. Toss the veggies in olive oil and season with salt. Put them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until tender, flipping halfway.

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When both the pasta and vegetables are done, put butter, milk, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and paprika in a pot over medium heat. If you don’t have ground mustard, you could just use a tablespoon of whatever mustard you have in the fridge. When the butter is melted and the milk is warm, add the pasta and vegetables. Stir so they are coated in the milk mixture.

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Then add the cheese a bit at a time until it is melted. I know American cheese seems weird, but it really helps to give your mac and cheese a creamy texture. I like Monterey jack because it’s a great “melty” cheese, and parmesan adds a great nutty flavor. Taste and add additional seasoning if necessary to taste.

Serve right away or store in the refrigerator and warm before serving. I made this early in the day , transferred to a baking dish, and kept it in the refrigerator until just before dinner. Then, I just put it in the oven covered for about 15 minutes to warm up, and it tasted amazing!

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So yeah, mac and cheese doesn’t have to be a weekend-only-cheat-meal kind of thing. This stuff is enough to make the worst of weekdays better 🙂

Grain Free, Veggie Packed Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 8 oz box Banza elbow pasta
1 cup broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 cup cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup milk (any milk you have)
1/2-3/4 tsp salt (start with a half and add more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar
1/2 cup Monterey jack
1/4 cup parmesan
2 slices American cheese (can be substituted for additional cheddar)

1. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Salt water and add elbow macaroni. Cook for 9-10 minutes until pasta is tender, then drain and rinse.
2. While macaroni is cooking, place broccoli and cauliflower on a sheet pan lined with foil. Toss in olive oil and season with salt. Put in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes until tender.
3. When pasta and vegetables are done, put butter, milk, salt, pepper, ground mustard, and paprika in a pot over medium heat. When butter is melted and milk is warm, add pasta and vegetables. Stir so they are coated in the milk mixture. Then add cheese a bit at a time until it is melted. Taste and add additional seasoning if necessary to taste. Serve right away or store in the refrigerator and warm before serving.

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