As a kid--and still, as an adult--I was (am!) obsessed with mac and cheese.
But my kid-self wanted nothing to do with any kind of homemade mac and cheese sporting a bubbling crust.
No, if it didn’t come out of a box, I wouldn’t go near it.
It’s been a couple of years, but there are still a lot of kids out there just like me (and maybe some adults, too).
So how do you get your kids to eat a homemade mac and cheese that’s also packed with veggies?
You make it look and taste as much like the original as possible!
The base of this sauce is pureed veggies.
There's no butter and no milk.
But there are so many hidden veggies inside, it will make your head spin.
It’s time to lose the box (...at least, sometimes)!
Kraft-Style Mac + Cheese with Cauliflower + Sweet Potato
- ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, coarsely chopped (about ¾ cups)
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- ½ medium head cauliflower, cut into large chunks, (about 1 pound or 3 cups)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled + cut into 1-inch chunks (about ½ pound or 1¼ cups)
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1¼ + ½ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
- 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
- 4 ounces American cheese (6 slices)
- 12 ounces macaroni pasta
- Place a large pot of salted water over high heat for cooking the macaroni. Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté until tender—5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, sweet potato, vegetable stock, and the 1¼ teaspoon salt. Bring this mixture to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender—about 20 minutes. This should give you about ¼ cup liquid along with the veggies.
- Place the veggie mixture in a blender and process it until it is completely smooth. Add more stock or water if there is not enough liquid to blend easily.
- Then transfer the mixture back to the saucepan over low heat. Add the cheddar cheese, American cheese, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt; stir until the cheese melts (depending on the saltiness of your stock and cheese you may not need this extra ½ teaspoon of salt). Add more stock if your mixture is too thick or if it thickens over time.
- When the water boils, add the macaroni and cook according to the package directions. When done, drain and transfer the macaroni to the saucepan with the veggie and cheese mixture. Toss to combine and serve.
- You can use any combination of cheese that you like—cheddar, parmesan, fontina or provolone— though I do like to include a little American or Velveeta in my mix, as it gives the cheese sauce the right consistency.
- This version is on the simple side; for a flavor that makes a bigger impact, I suggest stirring in some salsa or adding sautéed peppers to the mix.