What is not to love about layers of cheese, melted over elbow pasta in a creamy sauce, and baked to a golden, crisp top? Well, absolutely nothing, but your waistline once you’ve finished eating a plateful — or two. Macaroni and cheese is a classic American dish that is easy to prepare and perfect for a quick and hearty weeknight meal. But the extra cheese, heavy cream, and butter are ingredients that many of us can do without. With a few adjustments we’ve made a healthier version using butternut squash that is sure to please your whole family.
Our healthy mac and cheese has fewer calories and less fat without sacrificing the trademark cheesy flavor and hearty satisfaction that mac and cheese brings to the dinner table. Using a butternut squash purée as a base creates a luscious and creamy consistency that is poured over the noodles. In our recipe, we’ve also opted to use a quick and easy frozen purée that cuts down on prep and cook time.
If you really have your heart set on traditional mac and cheese, there are also a few tricks you can do to create a healthier version. Try using non-fat milk and reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. Also, try using whole wheat pasta instead of the traditional semolina flour pasta. This will increase your serving of whole grains and cut down on the extra fat from full-fat cheese and milk.
We recommend trying this butternut squash healthy version of mac and cheese and not telling your family and friends the secret ingredient. See if they even notice a difference in taste — and the answer may surprise you.
Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.