With fall right around the corner, we’re all craving cozier, heartier meals. This lightened up version of an old favorite gives you all the satisfaction of a big bowl of mac & cheese, with much less guilt and far fewer empty calories. The addition of broccoli and cauliflower boosts the fiber and satiation factor of this dish, and sneaks in some healthy vegetables people aren’t usually very excited about eating. Make this and a big salad or some roast chicken, and you’ve got a healthy meal everyone is psyched to dig into. Any leftovers pack up well for lunch the next day.
By Elizabeth Palmer Starnes
Serves 4 as a side (doubles easily)
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup pasta shells (or whatever your favorite shape is)
- 1 cup finely chopped cauliflower
- 1 cup finely chopped broccoli
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter or your favorite butter substitute (I love Earth Balance)
- 2 tablespoons low fat Greek yogurt
- 1 ½- 2 cups shredded cheese (a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and Monterey jack works well- part skim cheese if possible)
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons panko crumbs (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and salt the water generously. Add the pasta, and cook per package instructions, adding the cauliflower and broccoli for the last 5 minutes of cooking.
- Drain the pasta, cauliflower, and broccoli, and add them back to the same pot. Add the butter and stir until its melted. Add the garlic, then add the Greek yogurt and stir to combine.
- Slowly add the shredded cheese, stirring constantly, waiting until each addition has melted before adding more. Add as much or as little cheese as you like, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
- Pour the cheesy pasta mix into a baking dish, smoothing out the top. If you like, you can top your dish with more shredded cheese or the panko crumbs for an extra crunchy topping.
- Bake your dish in the preheated oven for 8-12 minutes, until your topping is crusty and golden brown. Serve immediately!