Vegetable-Filled Macaroni and Cheese

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

Looking for a new spin on classic mac and cheese?  Especially one that is full of veggies and won’t completely get your New Year’s resolutions off track?  This mac and cheese still has plenty of cheesy goodness, so don’t worry.  While it’s not exactly overly healthy, you can feel better about eating it since it is packed with greens and other good-for-you ingredients.

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

Now, promise me you won’t go running away when you see that greek yogurt and cottage cheese are part of this recipe.  While they may seem a bit strange, they blend in so well with the cheddar and give the dish some creaminess and just a hint of tang that makes it a little different.  In a good way.  And I bet that you won’t even notice them in the final dish!

Vegetable-filled macaroni and cheese

We’re not really big mac and cheese people in our house, but this version is one that I can definitely get behind.  Even my husband, who usually protests over meatless meals, likes this pasta.  Pair it with a salad and you’ve got an easy weeknight meal to add to your rotation.  You’re welcome : )

Vegetable-Filled Macaroni and Cheese
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • 13 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cups roughly chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese, divided
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and then place in a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, add the butter and olive oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the onion. Cook until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and broccoli and cook for about 2 minutes. Next add in the zucchini and mushrooms and cook until the veggies are tender, another 5 to 8 minutes. If needed, add in another 1 teaspoon olive oil to keep them from sticking to the pan.
  5. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt and pepper.
  6. Add the vegetable mixture to the large bowl with the pasta. Next add in the cottage cheese, yogurt and 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese. Mix until well combined. Spread the mixture in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and then sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of cheddar.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, until heated through and the cheese is melted.

Adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen.  Originally from The New Moosewood Cookbook.


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  1. Angela B. says

    What a lovely recipe! This dish will be on our supper table the next time I go grocery shopping. I like to feed my family ‘healthy’ dishes, so a ‘lightened-up’ Mac & Cheese will definitely fit the bill. We like whole wheat pasta, & (also) plenty of vegetables. I’ll use 2% cottage cheese (“Breakstone’s) and a ‘lighter’ Greek yogurt (if I can find one.) This dish looks to be decadent without all of the guilt… so I’m looking forward to making & enjoying it. I’m sighing-up to receive your blogs.

    • Ashley says

      Thanks so much Angela! I hope you enjoy! It’s become a staple at our house and my (extended) family asks me to make it every Christmas!

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