Give Your Mac And Cheese A Burst Of Color And Add Greens To The Sauce

It's hard to find a comfort food that beats hearty macaroni and cheese. Whether you're sticking with the easy boxed kind or making your own homemade version, that cheesy goodness always hits differently. And while loading your favorite pasta up with lots of the gooey stuff isn't a bad decision, you can actually give it a huge flavor boost by adding none other than your favorite greens. Plus, mixing them into your cheese sauce creates a beautiful color and will also increase the nutritional value.

Before you go overboard and blend a whole bag of spinach, keep in mind that the flavor will change depending on what type of veggies you add, as well as the quantity. For a subtle flavor, spinach might be your best bet, while kale or Swiss chard is a great option for a more robust profile. And if you've ever had broccoli cheddar soup, then you know you can't go wrong with broccoli, either.

The best ways to add veggies to your cheese sauce

There are two ways to add greens to your cheese sauce. You can either finely chop them and cook them in with the sauce, or you can blend the greens into the sauce. Both have perks.

If you give the greens a chop and sauté them to soften them up, then you can add them into the sauce without blending, and you'll add another textural element to the dish. If you're keeping the recipe basic with just pasta and cheese, then having that hint of texture is a great way to elevate the meal. On the other hand, if you'd prefer that bright green color and a smoother cheese sauce, you'll want to break out the blender. For this option, chop the veggie of your choice (if you're using something like broccoli, make sure to cook it first), then add the veggies to the cheese sauce, and blend it all together. That undeniable color will make your mac and cheese even prettier.

How much of a certain vegetable you add is entirely up to you. If you want subtle flavor and color, start small and build. You can always add more to the blender or mixture, but you can't take them away, so it's best to start with just a little.

Benefits of adding vegetables to your macaroni and cheese

The color and texture are obvious, but don't overlook the addition of nutrients, either. While you might not think of macaroni and cheese as a particularly nutritious dish, greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli all come with a number of nutritional elements that will benefit you (the three make a pretty tasty juice combination, too).

Spinach has plenty of vitamins, including K and A, and it's also a great source of folate, which helps keep blood cells healthy. Kale is bursting with vitamin K, as well as plenty of antioxidants that can help make your body less susceptible to certain diseases. Broccoli is in the kale family as well, so it's also filled with vitamin K and antioxidants.

The veggies you choose to add are ultimately up to you; you can even add a blend of more than one. Spinach has such a mild flavor that it makes a great pairing with something like green beans or broccoli.