People go crazy over this Veggie Mac and Cheese! The rich and creamy sauce is the perfect balance for broccoli, carrots and baby peas. This recipe is highly adaptable, so feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand if you feel like switching things up. Sometimes when I'm craving extra cheese, I sprinkle some Parmesan on top.
Mac and Cheese was a staple in our house when I was a kid, but I was an adult before I ever tasted homemade Mac n Cheese.
Like a lot of kids from the '70s, Mac and Cheese was a staple in my diet growing up.
Now we aren't talking something like this Veggie Mac and Cheese.
We are talking about the one that comes in a box with powdered cheese.
My sister and I use to argue about the best way to make it. Should you melt the butter and then add the milk and sauce mix, or should everything go into the pot at once?
(Since I am sure you are dying to know, I was on team everything goes in on top of the drained noodles at once.)
It wasn't until I was grown and learned to cook on my own that I ever tasted homemade Mac and Cheese.
That moment began a love affair that will last a lifetime.
In the beginning, I made a simple recipe that ultimately evolved into what my boys now call "Mom's World Famous."
It is still one of my most requested dishes from the boys for special occasions, and something the whole family agrees on. (If you have been around here long, you know that that is a rare thing around my house.)
Over time, my palate has evolved, and I prefer getting a bit more adventurous in the kitchen. Though my traditional Mac n Cheese is great comfort food, I much prefer today's Ultimate Veggie Mac n Cheese.
It just feels better to add a little veggies to an otherwise decadent dish!
Made with gluten free penne, sharp cheddar, fresh spring vegetables and a hint of cayenne, this is Mac n Cheese all grown up!
How to Make Veggie Mac and Cheese
#1 Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray. Gather your ingredients and measure.
#2 Cook Pasta and Veggies: Cook pasta according to package directions, adding in the vegetables in the last two minutes. Drain and rinse.
#3 While the Pasta Cooks Make the Sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
#4 Add Flour: Add flour, and whisk for 2 minutes, until golden brown.
#5 Add Milk: Add in the milk and cook, stirring often, for about 8 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
#6: Add Cheese: Add in all but ½ cup of the cheese, mustard powder, sea salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook over low until the cheese melts.
#7 Add Pasta: Toss the pasta and veggies with the cheese sauce.
#8 Transfer and Bake: Transfer to a casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shredded carrots, baby peas, broccoli, diced tomatoes, and sauteed spinach are all great options for adding to this recipe. Feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand.
You can use a wide variety of cheeses, and even use your own blend to create a more complex flavor profile. Good options include cheddar, Colby, Gruyere, Swiss, fontina, Gouda, and goat cheese. Smoked cheeses can make for especially interesting flavors.
Tips to Make This Recipe
- Make sure that your heat is not too high when you add the cheese. This can cause your sauce to break.
- This dish can be prepared up to a day ahead of time and baked when you are ready to serve. Alternatively, you can make this completely ahead of time and reheat. You may wish to add a bit of butter or milk when reheating.
- Leftovers will last in the refrigerator for up to three days. You may freeze this for up to 3 months.
More Recipes to Try
- Skinny Mac and Cheese
- Southwestern Veggie Wrap
- Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- Loaded Veggie Quinoa Pasta
- Cashew Mac and Cheese
- Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese
- Kimchi Mac & Cheese
Creamy Baked Veggie Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces gluten free penne
- 1 head broccoli chopped
- 1 ½ cups English peas shelled
- 2 large carrots grated (or 3 medium sized)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
- 2 cups milk
- 18 ounces cheddar cheese or cheese blend
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, adding vegetables in the last two minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- Meanwhile, make sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add flour and whisk for 2 minutes, until golden brown. (Note that some gluten-free flours do in brown well.)
- Add milk and cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes, stirring often. Add all but ½ cup cheese, mustard powder, salt, pepper and cayenne.
- Cook over low heat until cheese melts.
- Toss pasta and veggies with cheese sauce and place in a casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake for 25 minutes.