Veggie Mac and Cheese

I REFUSE to believe that healthy is a synonym for yummy-food-deprivation. I’ve been at this game for 3 years now, and never would have stuck with it if the food had to be boring, bland or minimal. No cutting out whole food groups for this gal! I want to have my cake and eat it too!

So I’m having mac and cheese for dinner tonight. With real pasta and three types of cheese. Just, a little less of those, and a whole heap of six different veggies (broccoli, brussels sprouts, onion, yellow capsicum, baby spinach, mushrooms, carrots). Balance. It’s all one big balancing act. I’m sure of it.

Now, this isn’t an everyday kind of dinner for me – In fact, I rarely eat pasta dishes where the pasta is the star anymore; I will almost always swap it for zoodles, because they’re much tastier and give me room for things like garlic bread or extra meat or sauce, which I much, much prefer. But I am only human, carbs aren’t the enemy, and sometimes, you just need a good bowl of macaroni to warm you up like a big old hug.

A bowlful (full!) of this works out to be 460 calories… not at all awful considering it’s a cheesy pasta dish! That’s with a yield of five servings, and that’s a pretty decent serve. Stretching it to six serves isn’t really a stretch at all.

Ingredients

225g macaroni

1 spray oil

1 onion, diced

500g mushrooms, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 yellow capsicum, diced

2 smallish carrots, diced

6 brussels sprouts, thinly sliced

800g tomatoes, diced (canned is fine)

1 small head of broccoli, cut into tiny florets

1tsp dried rosemary

60g baby spinach

220g tub bocconcini

30g dried breadcrumbs

90g grated cheddar

1tbs parmesan

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cook macaroni, removing from boiling water 2 minutes before packet instructions indicate. Add carrots to boiling water in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain and reserve.
  3. Heat the oil in a large ovenproof skillet (otherwise in a large skillet and you can transfer to an oven safe dish after you cook the veggies), and add onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook for 5 minutes until softened.
  4. Add remaining veggies (the carrot can stay with the pasta), and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add pasta/carrots and rosemary, and toss to combine. Remove from heat.
  5. Tear the bocconcini and stir into the pasta.
  6. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and remaining cheeses over the pasta and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, until golden.

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