Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower – 80 Twenty Nutrition

Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower

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If I had to make a list of my favorite comfort foods of all time, macaroni and cheese would be in the undisputed #1 spot. And I don’t mean the boxed kind (although I was practically raised on the stuff). It’s gotta be baked and it MUST have crunchy breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on top! I’ve lightened up this classic to make this yumtastic Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower. It’s gluten-free, vegetarian and so delish!

Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower - Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, High Fiber - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian, 80 Twenty Nutrition www.80twentynutrition.com

Disclosure: this blog post is a collaboration with my client, Gabriella’s Kitchen skinnypasta. As always, all opinions are my own and I only recommend foods and recipes that I enjoy myself and am confident you will too!

This is a fantastic recipe for meal prep because it freezes well. I like to put it into single serving containers and freeze it for when pasta and cheese cravings strike.

Mac n Cheese for 1/3 of the calories & packed w/#nutrition! Click To Tweet
Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower - Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, High Fiber - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian, 80 Twenty Nutrition

If you don’t have breadcrumbs, no worries. You can make your own super easily.

I love making my own breadcrumbs for a few reasons:

  1. It’s cheaper than buying a box of breadcrumbs. Seriously, ingredients = bread. That’s it. And making breadcrumbs is a great way to use up stale bread. So less waste too!
  2. You can make them super healthy. Don’t you find that whole grain or gluten-free breadcrumbs are basically impossible to find? Another great reason to DIY.
  3. It’s easy as pie (why is that an expression? Pie takes way more work than I’m usually willing to do)

Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower - Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, High Fiber - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian, 80 Twenty Nutrition
How do you make breadcrumbs?

Literally take 2 slices of bread. Rip up into food processor. Pulse. Done.

Breadcrumbs usually taste better and break up better if you toast your bread first. You can skip that step in this recipe though, because our breadcrumbs go on top and get all golden and toasty anyway. No need to double toast (unless you’re into repetition). Or if you don’t have a food processor, you can make toast and then put it in a plastic bag and have fun crunching it up into crumbs. Good for de-stressing!

Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower - Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, High Fiber - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian, 80 Twenty Nutrition

Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower – Gluten-Free, Vegetarian and So Yum!

Lighter Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower - Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, High Fiber - recipe by Christy Brissette, media registered dietitian, 80 Twenty Nutrition

Boxed mac and cheese, you got nothing on this! Restaurant mac and cheese, I gotta say goodbye. I’ve found a better option packed with fiber.

Get this yum #glutenfree mac and cheese packed with veggie goodness! Click To Tweet

You’ll never notice that half the pasta has been replaced with veggie goodness. I’m all about big portions for fewer calories… without compromising on taste and cheesy goodness!

Enjoy!

blog signature - Christy Brissette media dietitian 80 Twenty Nutrition

Lighter Baked Mac and Cheese with Broccoli and Cauliflower

Your classic baked mac and cheese gets a skinny makeover so it's lower in calories, higher in nutrients and packed with creamy cheesy goodness! It's gluten-free, vegetarian and so delish!
Servings 8
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups whole grain macaroni (Gabriella's Kitchen skinnypasta SUPERFOOD teff or other whole grain gluten-free pasta if desired)
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups shredded light cheddar and mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (or 2 slices whole grain/gluten-free bread)
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese

Instructions
 

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and broccoli and cook for 6 minutes. If you're using skinnypasta teff macaroni, add the pasta in the last minute (seriously, it's al dente in 1 minute! Love it)! If you're using other whole grain pasta, add it when you add the veggies.
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Put a colander in your sink and drain the pasta and vegetables. Leave them there to cool.
  • Put the pot back on the burner and bring the heat to medium. Melt the butter and add the flour to make a rue (let the flour cook until it turn golden, about 1 minute).
  • Add the milk and broth, stirring with a whisk. Bring the heat up to medium-high until the mixture starts to boil. Add the onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Cook for about 4 minutes more or until your sauce has thickened.
  • Take the pot off the heat and add the cheese. Add the macaroni and vegetables, mashing the softened veggies with a fork or wooden spoon into smaller pieces.
  • Pour the mixture into a deep baking dish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes and enjoy!
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