I’m always looking for ways to add veggies into my meals. So I thought why not give it a try with a classic “Macaroni and Cheese”
How good is macaroni and cheese? Honestly it is a treat to me. All that cheese and pasta make it an occasional meal at my house.
I had been wanting to try a new recipe since reading about Rocco Dispirito’s Mac and Cheese in my Fitness Magazine. He takes out the milk and butter by making his own “secret weapon”. I took a few of his ideas and a few of my own for this recipe. If you’re interested in Rocco’s recipe, you can find it here
Once I had mac and cheese with shredded lamb in the bottom of the dish. I thought why can’t I do that with zucchini! So I tried it.
two zucchinis found their way into the food processor.
Zucchinis have a lot of water in them so you will want to squeeze out the excess water after it’s shredded. I used my hands but you could also use paper towels.
Then I layered in it the bottom of a 9 by 13 casserole dish and baked it for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
Of course there is the cheese!!! I used about 4 oz of pepper jack but you could use any kind. More shredding, this time by hand. I got lazy so there are some big chunks in there.
I then modified Rocco’s “secret weapon”. Half a large onion, 5 garlic cloves and 1/2 cup of water microwaved for 10 minutes. Then all of that goes in the food processor to make a puree.
His recipe called for mustard powder and greek yogurt. I had neither so I substituted 1 tbsp of spicy mustard and 1/2 cup of plain fat free yogurt. Spiced it up with salt and pepper. I added the cheese slowly and whisked until it was all melted. Then I took it off the heat and stirred in the yogurt.
I added the cheese mixture to cooked pasta. I used whole wheat shells.
I poured it on top of the zucchini that already baked up in the oven.
Sprinkled with whole wheat bread crumbs and about a little bit of parmesan cheese.
Baked for about 15 minutes at 475 degrees. So good!!!!
I estimate that if you cut this into 6 servings, which is about 1 cup, it around 231 calories. This is just based on my own estimations of the ingredients that I used.
Veggie Packed Mac and Cheese
- 2 medium zucchinis shredded
- 1 small onion chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup of water
- 4 oz of shredded cheese (I used pepper jack but you could use any type)
- 6 oz of whole wheat cooked pasta
- 1/2 cup of fat free plain yogurt
- 1 tbsp of mustard
- 1/4 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Shred the zucchini by hand or in a food processor. Once shredded squeeze out the excess water by hand or with paper towels. Then layer the zucchini in a 9 by 13 baking dish and bake for about 15 or 20 minutes.
While zucchini is baking, place onion, garlic and 1/2 cup of water in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap. Microwave for 10 minutes. Then puree in food processor until smooth.
Heat the puree and slowly add in the cheese in 1/4 cup increments. Stir continuously until cheese is completely melted. Take off the heat and stir in the mustard and yogurt.
Turn up oven to 475 degrees. Add cheese mixture to cooked pasta and pour on top of the baked zucchini. Sprinkle bread crumbs and parmesan cheese over pasta. Bake for 20 minutes or until bread crumbs brown and it it heated through.