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Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

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I love any recipe that adds a little more veggies to my child’s diet. And this one doesn’t disappoint! Carrots, butternut squash and cauliflower are all sneaky ingredients inside this mac and cheese.

If you’re used to eating the traditional boxed mac and cheese, this will most definitely taste different – I’m not gonna lie! But the processed food version is full of preservatives and isn’t providing any nutritional value. So this hidden veggie mac and cheese is a great way to transition from the processed food version into something more healthy.

Your kids will never know that there’s hidden veggies inside this real food mac and cheese. To make the recipe you’ll need cauliflower, carrots and butternut squash. Feel free to use fresh or frozen veggies. Today I used frozen butternut squash to save time.

If you’re using fresh veggies, you’ll need to steam them to soften them up. Frozen veggies can just be popped into the microwave to warm them up.

Once the veggies are soft (fresh or frozen), add them to your blender and blend until they’re a creamy consistency. No need to add water here. If you have trouble blending, just keep stopping and mixing with a spoon and then starting again. Repeat until everything starts to blend together.

To make the sauce, add the veggie puree, milk, shredded cheese and cream cheese to a medium pot (you can also use dairy-free cheese versions here if you’d like). Cook on medium heat until everything melts together. Keep an eye on the pot and stir regularly. Once it’s done, add in the cooked pasta and cook for another 10 minutes. Then it’s ready to serve.

Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3 cups brown rice macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup frozen butternut squash
  • 1 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) cream cheese
  • sea salt and ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Add cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots to a steamer. Let steam until veggies are tender, approx 10-15 minutes.
  3. Blend veggies until smooth in a blender. Return veggie mixture to a medium pot. Add in milk, shredded cheese, and cream cheese. Let simmer on medium-high heat, and stir until cheese melts.
  4. Add macaroni to the pot and mix together. Cover with a lid and let simmer for an extra 10 minutes. This mac and cheese is served best while still warm.

Notes

  • I’ve kept this recipe really simple - no spices were added to make it easy for super picky eaters. But that might be pretty boring for you, so feel free to season with some of your favorites like sea salt and ground pepper, a pinch of paprika or anything else you like!
  • To make this a dairy-free option, substitute with dairy-free cheese and milk.
  • If you want to save time, you can use frozen veggies instead of fresh ones. Just pop them in the microwave to warm up, then add them to the blender to puree (no need to steam because they’re already soft).
  • Depending on how “runny” you like your mac and cheese, feel free to strain extra sauce and save for later. You could add it to an ice cube tray to freeze it.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 566Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 763mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 6gSugar: 3gProtein: 27g

Please note: This nutrition information is only an estimate and was created using Nutritionix

Did you make this recipe?

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Bonnie

Monday 8th of February 2021

Hi! I am looking for recipes to incorporate into baby lead weaning for my 6mo little guy. He doesn't eat much though, so I was wondering if you had tried freezing this recipe into individual portions.

Andi

Monday 8th of February 2021

I haven't tried freezing it, but you should be able to no problem. You could even use an ice cube tray to freeze the small portion sizes. Once they're frozen, add the cubes to a freezer bag, removing air and sealing tightly. They will keep for up to 2 months.