Better Mac ‘n Cheese

This deliciously cheesy macaroni is much healthier than it tastes.

Mac n Cheese
 Claire Benoist

Compared with the boxed, processed-cheese version, this homemade macaroni and cheese has double the fiber, far less sodium, and no artificial colors or preservatives. Butternut squash substitutes for some of the cheese without sacrificing the taste and texture you love.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 285; protein: 20g; carbs: 40g; fat: 6g; saturated fat: 2g; fiber: 4g; cholesterol: 10mg; sodium: 260mg

Prep time

15 min.

Cook time

60 min.

  • 8 oz whole-wheat elbow macaroni
  • 1¼ cups low-fat, no-salt added cottage cheese
  • 1½ cups puréed butternut squash
  • 3 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp grated Asiago or parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 2-qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Rinse with cold water. Cover, and set aside.

Place cottage cheese and butternut squash in a food processor, and blend until smooth—about 45 seconds. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté until tender—about 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked macaroni, cottage cheese mixture, onion, cheddar cheese, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly. Transfer macaroni mixture to the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp olive oil, bread crumbs, and grated cheese. Sprinkle on top of macaroni.

Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes or until hot and slightly bubbly. Serve warm.