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macaroni and cheese

Recipe: Vegetable Mac and Cheese

This recipe for vegetable macaroni and cheese is easy to prepare, versatile and a favorite of Katie Krawczyk, registered dietitian nutritionist at the Upstate Cancer Center. She often shares the recipe with patients who have cancer.

It makes 4 servings.

Click here to hear Krawczyk explain and comment on the recipe. 


½ pound whole-wheat pasta

4 tablespoons butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups warm milk

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

Pepper, to taste

½ tablespoon olive oil

½ small cauliflower, chopped

1½ cups spinach

½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded



Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until barely al dente, so it is still a bit firm. Once cooked, drain and leave the pasta in the colander. Return the pot to the stove to use for the sauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

As the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped cauliflower and sauté until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach to the cauliflower and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the cheese sauce: Melt the butter in the pot or saucepan. Whisk in the flour. Then cook for 1-2 minutes, until the mixture (known as a roux) turns a very light golden brown. Whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until the sauce is smooth and the milk is incorporated. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer gently, stirring regularly, until the sauce is smooth and thick. Add the nutmeg and cheese.

Add the cooked pasta and vegetables to the cheese sauce and mix. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake in the oven 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.


Nutritional information per serving:

(Serving size: one-quarter of the recipe)

Calories, 542 calories; protein, 27 grams; carbohydrates, 58 grams; fiber, 2 grams; sodium, 649 grams; polyunsaturated fat, 2 grams; monounsaturated fat, 8 grams.