Spring Veggie Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade

By June 25, 2020January 19th, 2024Recipes

This Mac ‘n’ cheese recipe is so flavorful and full of fresh ingredients without all of the added sodium of boxed Mac ‘n’ cheese. In this recipe we use whole grain pasta to give some added fiber and vitamins. The whole wheat pasta will keep us feeling full longer and is great for digestive health. You can also add any fresh veggies that you like to this dish to add great flavor and vitamins. In this recipe we added kale and sugar snap peas. You can make this dish fully customizable and use your choice of cheese. Season with fresh herbs, top with some toasted breadcrumbs and you are ready to eat!

Spring Veggie Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Serves 8



1 lb dried whole grain pasta, bowtie, elbows or other small pasta 

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 large onion, diced 

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen, optional

½ cup asparagus, thinly sliced

1 bunch cooking greens, roughly chopped 

3 cloves garlic or 2 garlic scapes, minced, optional

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour 

1 ½ cups milk 

3 tablespoon mixed herbs, finely chopped (optional)

1 cup grated cheddar 

Salt and pepper, to taste



3 Tbs olive oil, or melted butter

1 C panko or other bread crumbs



  1. Preheat oven to 400.  
  2. In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pinch of salt then add pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes before perfect doneness. Drain and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
  3. Heat a large skillet to med-high heat. Once hot, add olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Then add garlic and the rest of the vegetables, season it with salt and pepper and sauté until tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. To make the cheese sauce, heat a medium-large pot over medium heat. Add butter. Once completely melted, add flour and whisk quickly until the mixture is shiny and resembles a loose paste. Add milk, a very small splash at a time, whisking constantly. Let mixture simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cheese in several additions, combining each additionally completely before adding the next. Remove pan from heat and stir all of mixed herbs. Adjust seasoning to taste. 
  5. Off the heat, add drained pasta and the vegetable mixture stirring to combine.  Pour into casserole dish.  For topping, stir breadcrumbs into oil or melted butter.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes or bake for 10 minutes and broil for 5 minutes, then allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.


Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade
Serves 4-6



8 oz rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces

¾ cup fresh strawberries

⅛-¼ cup honey

1 cup lemon juice, fresh or bottled

1 ½ pints water

¼ cup mint, lemon balm or both, torn 




  1. In saucepan, combine rhubarb, strawberries and honey.  Cook over medium heat until soft.  Strain and allow to cool. 
  2. Combine lemon juice, water, and rhubarb mixture in a pitcher.   In a second pitcher muddle the mint.
  3. Fill pitcher with ice and top with lemonade.   Serve over ice in cups.


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