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Who doesn’t love mac n’ cheese? It’s kind of the best, right? It’s a staple in most kids’ diets and a must-have on the Thanksgiving table. Now, we know what you’re thinking…why change a good thing? Well, what if we told you we made it even better?
Unlike most boxed versions, our hidden veggie mac n’ cheese is packed with whole ingredients you and your kids can pronounce and is loaded with feel-good ingredients that will keep you full longer.
We’re all about keeping your favorite comfort foods in your diet, but by making a few tweaks, you can ensure they are nutrient-fortified and keep you feeling good. No one likes a food crash!
If you have kids (or cook for someone whose palate is a bit child-like), we know how hard it is to get nutrient-dense ingredients onto their plates. We can’t be the only ones who cook our kids beautifully balanced and colorful meals only to be met with, “No, I want buttered noodles.” We say, roll with the punches and use familiar ingredients that you already know your kids will eat with a few small adjustments. This recipe can also be frozen and defrosted for future use when you just don’t know what to make for dinner.
This sauce is honestly so delicious, you don’t need to limit it to just noodles. It can be used as a dip with veggies or a sauce on top of your favorite protein. This recipe definitely gets points for versatility, and we’d love to see what you come up with as far as your own twist on it. If you choose to try out this hidden veggie sauce, snap a pic and tag us on social media!
We truly hope this hidden veggie mac n’ cheese finds its way into your weekly rotation so that you can keep eating the foods you love with a little boost.
About our ingredients:
Pasta: We used Banza chickpea shells for this recipe for added protein. You can use whichever pasta you prefer.
Milk: We use whole milk, especially when preparing recipes for little ones as the additional fat is great for developing bodies and minds. You can use whichever milk you prefer. Although we haven’t tried a dairy-free option, it should work fine here. If you are going this route, you are better off with a creamier option like hemp or oat.
Cheese: We love classic cheddar, but feel free to mix and match and make this as gourmet as you’d like!
Cauliflower: This unassuming veggie is low in calories and high in protein and fiber (ranking in at about 11 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber per medium-sized head). It also blends in nicely with the cheese so picky eaters won’t pick up on this incognito ingredient.
Cannellini/White beans: another hidden, nutrient-packed ingredient that makes this mac n’ cheese so filling. This upgrade flies easily under the radar, because it is naturally creamy once blended.
Spices to taste: We like to use salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. We recommend keeping your spices similar to what you would normally use in your mac n’ cheese to fend off any skeptics.
Hidden Veggie Mac N Cheese
- 1 box of pasta (we use Banza chickpea shells)
- 1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 cup of cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 can of white beans
- 1 tbsp Spices to taste (we used salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder)
- Boil two separate medium-large pots of water.
- While your water is warming up, rinse and chop your cauliflower florets. You can discard the main stem. Remember, that the look of your chop here doesn’t matter because it will all get blended. However, you do want your pieces similar in size so they all cook evenly.
- Once your water is boiled, add the cauliflower in one pot and your pasta in the other. Cook the pasta according to box instructions and your cauliflower until soft.
- While this is cooking, shred the cheddar cheese and rinse and drain the canned beans
- When the pasta is cooked, strain and rinse.
- When the cauliflower is cooked, add it to a high-powered blender along with the milk, shredded cheese, strained beans, and spices and blend until smooth
- Pour your sauce on top of your pasta and top with additional cheese if desired. Serve warm and enjoy!