Veggie Mac & Cheese

By April 14, 2020May 3rd, 2024Recipes

Veggie Mac & Cheese

Serves 8



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

1 tablespoon olive oil 

1 large onion, diced 

1 pound cauliflower and/or broccoli florets, finely diced *see note for tips on other veggie ideas

1 bunch kale or spinach, about 12 ounces, chopped 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

Red pepper flakes, to taste

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

1 1/2 cups milk 

1 3/4 cup grated cheese **see note for tips on cheese combinations

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano (optional)


Optional Breadcrumb Topping:

3 tablespoons olive oil, or melted butter 

1 cup panko or other bread crumbs



  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add several pinches of salt then add pasta and cook until al dente, about 1 to 2 minutes before perfect doneness. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium-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 flakes and sauté until tender. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  3. If adding bread crumb topping, preheat your broiler.
  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 small splash at a time, whisking constantly. Let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cheese in several additions, combining each addition completely before adding the next. Remove pan from heat and stir in mixed herbs. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Off the heat, add drained pasta and the vegetable mixture stirring to combine. Serve as is, or see next step for broiling instructions.
  6. Pour Mac & Cheese into a 9×13 baking dish.  To make topping, stir breadcrumbs into oil or melted butter.  Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese.  Broil for 5 minutes, then allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.



*There are plenty of options of vegetable combinations for Veggie Mac & Cheese! Here are three of our favorite adaptations on this recipe.

  1. Squash: Substitute 1lb diced squash for broccoli. Roast at 400 degrees until it’s tender and mix it in during step 5. 
  2. Frozen peas: Follow package instructions to thaw peas, then add during step 5.
  3. Frozen spinach: Thaw according to package instructions and drain it well before sauteeing in step 3.

**Our favorite cheese combination is a mix of 3/4 cup parmesan and 1 cup cheddar, but any combination of meltable cheese will work.


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