Healthy Broccoli Cheddar Mac-N-Cheese Recipe

Healthy Broccoli Mac n Cheese Recipe

If you are like me, your eyes light up when you see mac-n-cheese on the menu at a new restaurant, and I am not talking on the kid’s menu. Whenever a restaurant has the audacity to include a kid’s food on the adult side, whether as an appetizer or the main course, I am here for it! This generally means it is not going to be the infamous blue boxed, bright neon orange cheese version (which truth be told, I am not opposed to), but it will be something drool worthy.

The beautiful thing about restaurants adding grown-up macaroni and cheese to their menu is that they inevitably use cheeses that my kids won’t like, so I don’t even have to worry about sharing. Oftentimes, the cheeses are ones I have never heard of, but that being said, I have never met a cheese I didn’t like, and I’m all about trying new things.

You can never go wrong combining two of my favorite things in one dish—pasta and cheese. It really doesn’t even matter what type or shape of pasta is used, or even what type or flavor of cheese is used—it is all good. Like really, really good. The ooey, gooey, creamy, melty… Er, I better stop before I start to drool on the page.

Now, these are all the pros about mac-n-cheese, while the cons list is much shorter. In general, I don’t like to group foods as good or bad, as everything can be enjoyed in moderation from time to time. However, with copious amounts of pasta and cheese and oftentimes heavy cream and butter, this isn’t technically the healthiest meal on the planet. Could it be worse? Sure. But could it be better? Uh, yeah. And if anyone can make it better, that’s me. 😉

By swapping out a few ingredients and adding some vegetables, you can have your pasta and cheese and eat it too, so to speak.

Check out my version of macaroni and cheese and let me know in the comments what you think. This has been both kid and grown-up tested and approved, so I consider that a win-win, especially as there’s plenty to share.

Broccoli Cheddar Mac-N-Cheese Recipe

Broccoli Cheddar Mac-n-Cheese

Check out this main-dish version of macaroni and cheese for kids AND adults.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, macaroni
Servings: 5
Calories: 406kcal


  • 10 oz pasta I used cauliflower penne
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup onion diced
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli chopped
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
  • ¼ cup panko breading
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions; set aside.
  • Melt butter over medium heat and slowly add flour, whisking as you go.
  • Add onion and cook another two minutes.
  • Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick.
  • Remove from heat and gradually add cheese until all cheese is melted.
  • Add broccoli and pasta to the cheese mixture.
  • Pour into a prepared baking dish and top with panko (and additional cheese if desired).
  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes (kick it up to broil for 1 minute at the end if desired).
  • Enjoy!


Chef Note: You could swap out the broccoli for spinach or another favorite leafy green vegetable (or any vegetable for that matter).
 Chef Note: You could swap out, or even add to, the cheddar with your favorite cheese. This is kind of an old-school version, so I wanted to keep to the traditional flavor, but any cheese will be delish!


Calories: 406kcal | Fat: 19g | Protein: 16g | Carbohydrates: 46g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!