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Wholesome Baked Mac and Cheese

by Editorial
Wholesome Baked Mac and Cheese

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This baked mac and cheese is made lighter with a combo of almond milk and vegetable broth and almond meal as an alternative of breadcrumbs. It’s creamy, tacky, comforting and positive to turn into a brand new household favourite!

There’s nothing fairly like a comforting bowl of mac and cheese, am I proper? It at all times brings me again to my childhood and now with two kiddos myself mac and cheese is certainly a staple in our family! Whereas boxed mac and cheese is handy, I favor to make selfmade mac and cheese. I really like my wholesome mac and cheese, however at the moment I’m sharing a lightened-up baked mac and cheese, which could simply be my new favourite.

I really like the tip results of baked mac and cheese… it nonetheless has the identical creamy and tacky consistency of standard stovetop mac and cheese, however it has a pleasant crisp, crunchy topping! To loosen up this recipe only a bit I used a combo of almond milk and vegetable broth as an alternative of heavy cream, much less butter and almond meal as an alternative of breadcrumbs that may sometimes be discovered in lots of baked mac and cheese recipes.

A baking dish containing healthy baked mac and cheese, some portions have been removed.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Filled with tacky goodness!
  • It’s a dish that the entire household will love!
  • It’s a lightened-up model of a consolation meals classic.
Ingredients measured out to make Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese: pepper, almond milk, almond meal/breadcrumbs, elbow macaroni, parmesan, butter, vegetable broth, cheddar, flour and salt.

Components Wanted

  • elbow macaroni – you possibly can’t get any extra basic than elbow macaroni for this dish. That mentioned, any number of pasta will work! For some added protein and fiber you should use entire wheat pasta, lentil or chickpea pasta.
  • butter – when mixed with the flour this kinds a roux to assist thicken the cheese sauce. I counsel utilizing butter that’s from grass-fed cows.
  • all-purpose flour – that is what thickens the cheese sauce. Be happy to make use of gluten-free all-purpose for those who want a gluten-free possibility.
  • almond milk – I used unsweetened almond milk for this recipe as an alternative of cream or common milk, however any kind of milk will work. In case you’re going the dairy-free route I like to recommend utilizing unsweetened milk as many milk alternate options could have sugar and this may change the flavour of the mac & cheese.
  • vegetable broth – as an alternative of utilizing all milk for the liquid I made a decision to make use of half vegetable broth for some added taste! Hen broth will work as properly. I simply advocate utilizing low-sodium broth so you possibly can management the sodium content material on this dish.
  • cheddar & parmesan cheese – the combo of sharp cheddar cheese and parmesan takes this dish to the following degree. I like to recommend shredding your individual cheese as an alternative of utilizing pre-shredded store-bought cheese for the perfect outcomes.
  • almond meal or panic breadcrumbs – this provides a pleasant crispy, crunchy topping! I favor utilizing almond meal for some added vitamins, however panko breadcrumbs are additionally an incredible possibility.
  • salt & pepper – for seasoning and bringing all of the flavors collectively.
Collage of six photos showing the steps to make Healthy Baked Mac and Cheese: starting by making the cheese sauce, adding the elbow macaroni and then baking it with breadcrumbs on top.

Easy methods to Make

Start by preheating the oven to 375°F and spraying a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Prepare dinner your macaroni noodles in accordance with the bundle directions till al dente (you need the pasta just a little undercooked). Whereas the pasta is cooking, add the butter to a big pot and warmth over low warmth. As soon as butter is melted, whisk in flour till mixed. 

Subsequent, add the almond milk, broth, salt & pepper and convey the combination to a boil whereas whisking always till easy and thick. Take away from warmth and slowly add 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, mixing till melted and easy. Add the noodles to the cheese sauce and stir to mix. 

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Pour the mac & cheese into your baking dish and prime it off with the remaining cheddar and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle bread crumbs or almond meal on prime and bake for 20-25 minutes till bubbly and the highest begins to brown. Broil for two minutes to make the topping good and crispy, however watch intently so it doesn’t burn. Take away from the oven, let cool barely and revel in!

A bowl containing baked mac and cheese.

Substitutions & Notes

  • Add veggies – need to amp up the diet rely on this recipe by including greens? Go for it! Broccoli, spinach, kale or zucchini are some choices that may pair properly with this dish.
  • Swap the cheese – sharp cheddar cheese and parmesan are my favourite cheeses to make use of for this dish, however there are numerous different forms of cheeses that may work properly comparable to white cheddar, gouda, monterey jack, pepper jack, havarti and gruyere.
  • Spice it up – need to make spicy mac and cheese? Add your favourite peppers or spices to the dish. Sliced jalapeño, cayenne pepper and pink pepper flakes are some good choices.
  • Amp up the flavour – combining some herbs and spices can actually amp up the flavors on this mac and cheese recipe. Garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin powder, dried thyme, oregano, rosemary or contemporary parsley are all wonderful additions.
  • Vegan – I haven’t tried a vegan model of this baked mac and cheese and I’m unsure how it could end up with vegan cheese, however let me know for those who strive it within the feedback under! You may additionally do this vegan mac and cheese as an alternative!
  • Low-carb – for a low-carb mac and cheese possibility I like to recommend making this baked cauliflower mac and cheese as an alternative!
  • Gluten-free – to make this dish gluten-free use a gluten-free pasta possibility like brown rice or chickpea noodles and almond meal as an alternative of breadcrumbs. Banza is my favourite gluten-free model that’s excessive in protein, utilizing chickpeas as a primary ingredient.
A close up of healthy baked mac and cheese in a dish.

Suggestions for Success

  • Prepare dinner your pasta solely till al dente. You’ll need it just a little undercooked because it’ll prepare dinner extra within the oven.
  • Skip the store-bought pre-shredded cheese. Use hand-shredded cheese! I undoubtedly advocate shopping for a block of cheese and grating it your self. Recent is at all times higher and shredding the cheese takes no time in any respect. The pre-shredded store-bought cheeses sometimes comprise preservatives like potato starch, natamycin and/or cellulose to stop the shreds from clumping collectively within the bag. It will forestall your cheese from melting correctly within the roux combination and can doubtless result in extra of a grainy style texture.
  • Take away roux from warmth earlier than including cheese. You don’t need to add your cheese to the sauce combination if it’s nonetheless effervescent, in any other case it may burn the cheese or lead to a grainy texture.
  • Add cheese just a little at a time. It would take longer for the cheese to soften and will find yourself too clumped collectively for those who add it unexpectedly. 
  • Watch intently if broiling on the finish. To ensure the highest doesn’t burn! Solely talking from expertise right here. 😉 It’s best to solely broil the mac and cheese for about 2 minutes.
A bowl of baked mac and cheese. A fork is removing a cheesy bite.

What to Serve With Baked Mac & Cheese

This baked mac and cheese makes an incredible possibility for a meatless dinner or lunch, however I additionally assume it could be superb served alongside some protein or extra sides for a extra filling meal. Listed below are some concepts:

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A bowl full of baked mac and cheese.

Easy methods to Retailer

Retailer any leftovers in an hermetic sealed container for 4-5 days within the fridge. To reheat, add the mac and cheese to a saucepan and warmth over medium-low, till warmed, stirring usually to stop burning. If wanted, add just a little little bit of milk or water to skinny out the sauce. Alternatively, you possibly can reheat this within the microwave for those who’re brief on time.

A rectangular baking dish containing baked mac and cheese.

Baked Mac and Cheese FAQ’s

Do you have to cowl your mac & cheese whereas baking?

No you don’t have to! It’s truly extra handy to depart it uncovered as this helps the highest of the dish turn into good as crispy!

What’s the perfect cheese to make use of?

The very best cheese to make use of for any mac & cheese is sharp cheddar, and naturally it doesn’t damage so as to add parmesan to the combination! There are many different cheeses that can work with a a lot completely different style. Gruyere is a typical cheese used for fondue and melts rather well and Gouda cheese will add a strong, virtually smoky taste to your mac & cheese. White cheddar, Monterey Jack and Colby cheese are different frequent choices for mac and cheese.

Do it is advisable add breadcrumbs to the highest?

No, you don’t want so as to add breadcrumbs or almond meal. You’ll nonetheless find yourself with a creamy and ever-so-cheesy meal. The breadcrumbs/almond meal simply provides a very nice contact with a barely crunchy texture.

Are you able to prep this baked mac and cheese forward of time?

Sure! You may simply put together this mac & cheese forward of time! Merely put together the mac & cheese as directed, however maintain off on the breadcrumbs/almond meal and don’t bake it! Cowl the dish and set it within the fridge for as much as 2 days. Whenever you’re able to bake, uncover it, prime it with breadcrumbs and bake for 20-25 minutes, till bubbly and the highest begins to brown. Broil for the final 2 minutes to brown the highest much more, watching intently to not burn the cheese.

A spoonful of baked mac and cheese being removed from a larger baking dish.

Extra Pasta Recipes

You should definitely try all the pasta recipes in addition to the complete assortment of vegetarian recipes on EBF!

Wholesome Baked Mac and Cheese

This baked mac and cheese is made lighter with a combo of almond milk and vegetable broth and almond meal as an alternative of breadcrumbs. It is creamy, tacky, comforting and positive to turn into a brand new household favourite!

A baking dish containing healthy baked mac and cheese, some portions have been removed.
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup almond meal or breadcrumbs

Serving: 1/6 recipe Energy: 505kcal Carbohydrates: 31g Protein: 22g Fats: 32g Saturated Fats: 17g Polyunsaturated Fats: 1g Monounsaturated Fats: 7g Ldl cholesterol: 81mg Sodium: 923mg Potassium: 162mg Fiber: 2g Sugar: 2g

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please go away a remark and star score on this publish and share on social media utilizing the hashtag #eatingbirdfood. I really like seeing your recipe shares!

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