We try not to eat a lot of pasta at our house. This trend started about 4 years ago when Kev and I did a 24 Day Challenge with Advocare and reassessed a lot of our eating habits. We both lost a little weight and more importantly started feeling much more energetic during the day. This prompted us to make some changes in our normal diet and hence, pasta became only a special occasion food.
When Kev is gone for an evening though, you better believe I sneak out my hidden box of Kraft Mac & Cheese!!
The cheese. Ohhh the cheese. I used a mixture of white and yellow cheddar as well as the oh so lovely Gruyere. Other yummy cheeses would be: Fontina, Parmesan, Monterey Jack, Velveeta, Ricotta, Smoky Gouda, and Brie! Anything goes really. It’s a great way to use up all those leftover cheese nubs floating around in your fridge.
I had been seeing the trend lately to make healthier versions of the classic recipe for mac & cheese and was intrigued. There were a few inspirations for me as I was developing this recipe, mainly from Pinch of Yum’s version of healthy mac and also my completely adorable Kalettes (a cross between brussels sprouts and kale ) that I found at Trader Joes.
This mac & cheese is so so speedy to make and the rich, creamy texture from the pureed butternut squash and carmelized onions is simply amazing. You are welcome to throw in any greens you have on hand (or just leave them out altogether) depending on your mood for the night! Spinach, Kale, Kalettes, and Brussels Sprouts are at the top of my list for veggies that wilt down nicely and add a little texture to the dish.
PSA: This Healthy Mac N’ Cheese will convince your husband that it’s okay to eat pasta every now and then and may even cause you stop hoarding your secret Kraft blue boxes.
Healthy Mac N’ Cheese with Greens and Gruyere
- Yield: 6
- 2 cups butternut squash, chopped
- 1 cup greens, chopped (kale, brussels sprouts, kalettes, spinach)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter (affiliate)
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 4 cups chicken broth (affiliate)
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 cup shredded cheddar
- 1 cup shredded gruyere
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon chipotle red pepper
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
- In medium saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil, add butternut squash and boil gently until soft enough to pierce through with a fork.
- In large skillet, melt butter and cook onions on low heat until caramelized. Add onions, cooked butternut squash, ½ cup chicken broth, and milk to blender. Puree until fully blended.
- In same skillet that onions were cooked in, add chopped greens and saute for 1-2 minutes, until wilted. Add cooked pasta, squash puree, spices, and shredded cheese. Mix until ingredients are combined and cheese is melted.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve!
Other Mac And Cheese Recipes You’ll Love!
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Pressure Cooker 10 Minute Easy Mac