Hidden Veggie Mac and Cheese
This hidden veggie mac and cheese is the perfect meal for kids! It’s a great way to pack in an extra serving of veggies that they won’t even notice. This recipe is gluten-free and can be made dairy-free as well.
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 that 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.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of real food, I created a free class: Learn why families need to eat real food more than anyone - click here to listen for free.
Before I get on to the recipe, I wanted to mention another free resource. It’s 10 healthy recipes that every mom should know. To grab it, just click the button below…
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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 RECIPE
3 cups gluten-free dry elbow macaroni (I used brown rice macaroni)
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
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Add cauliflower, butternut squash, and carrots to a steamer. Let steam until veggies are tender, approx 10-15 minutes.
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.
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.
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 salt and 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.
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