This is my go-to recipe for mac ‘n’ cheese. Some people, like my dad and brother, like their mac ‘n’ cheese plain with just the cheese sauce, but I know better. With the addition of certain vegetables, I am convinced this dish is much better. It could just be my obsession with all things vegetable, but try it and see for yourself.
Every time I make a batch of this mac ‘n’ cheese, I think I’m going to have it for the next few days. But it never lasts that long. I turn into a pasta eating machine, and within a day or two it is all gone! Here is where my addition of vegetables not only makes the dish more delicious, but also helps portion it so you are not eating two giant bowls of straight pasta. The broccoli, roasted squash, sun-dried tomatoes, and peas make each bowl of this half veggies and half pasta, which my stomach is always grateful for! I usually fill a bowl up halfway with spring greens before putting the mac ‘n’ cheese on top to further full up on veggies and not just pasta. It becomes a giant, warm, cheese, pasta-rich salad. Basically, heaven!
I have made this mac ‘n’ cheese many times with different vegetables before settling down on the four in this recipe. The peas were my first vegetable choice because I love the sweetness of peas with the creaminess of the cheese sauce. The sauce for this mac ‘n’ cheese is my liquid gold sauce, which is already made of sweet butternut squash, so the peas really pair perfectly here! I basically put sun-dried tomatoes on everything, so of course I threw a few handfuls in this pasta. They add a depth of flavor, almost smokey, because of the powerful taste of concentrated tomato. When I was younger I always loved broccoli and cheese, and the addition of the broccoli in this dish is perfect with all the cheese sauce! The butternut squash was an afterthought. Because you only need two cups of roasted squash to make the sauce I had quite a bit of leftover after using a four pound squash one day, so I threw in the leftovers and never looked back.
Give this mac ‘n’ cheese a try. Weather you are vegan or just a veggie-lover like myself, this pasta is quite the treat. Feel free to swap the vegetables according to your preferences, I don’t think there is a vegetable that won’t taste amazing when covered in this cheese sauce and mixed with pasta!
One Pot Veggie Mac ‘N’ Cheese
vegan, gluten-free option
yield: 6 servings
1 batch liquid gold sauce
1 14 oz box pasta of choice*
1 large head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1 cup peas
leftover roasted butternut squash, from making the liquid gold sauce
mixed spring greens, for serving (optional)
*I used Eden Foods Kamut Spirals; use gluten-free pasta if necessary
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta. When there are about three minutes left before the pasta is done, add the broccoli and peas. Drain, then put back in the pot and add the sun-dried tomatoes, roasted butternut squash, and the liquid gold sauce. Mix until everything is evenly coated. Serve over a bed of spring greens.