This three hidden vegetable mac and cheese recipe contains sweet potato, butternut squash and cauliflower and is perfect for picky eaters. In my opinion it tastes even better than regular mac ‘n’ cheese.
This macaroni with vegetables recipe looks exactly the same as a standard macaroni cheese – yet it has three healthy and delicious portions of vegetables – cauliflower, sweet potato and butternut squash – added. It’s one of my favourite vegetarian recipes for kids . It’s equally perfect for anyone who wants to find an easy way to get more vegetables into their diet and for picky eaters who try to avoid vegetables!
These days I’m all for transparency in feeding my kids and I try to avoid hiding too many vegetables in their meals – however on occasion I just want to make sure that my children – in particular my eldest – do eat some vegetables! That’s when dishes like this come in so handy. It looks exactly like ordinary macaroni cheese. I’ve been blending butternut squash into the cheese sauce for ages but wanted to see if I could vary the veg a little bit. In this recipe for macaroni cheese I’ve added cauliflower, sweet potato and butternut squash. It all got eaten, and no-one noticed the difference. This doesn’t mean that my son is any more likely to pick up a floret of cauliflower and tuck into it any time soon but at least I know that when he’s eaten a plate of this he’s had some goodness – not just a heap of carbs and dairy. Find out more about how much veg should be in your child’s diet.
If you’re struggling with picky eating you might enjoy my recent post over on the metro about how I relaxed about my child’s fussy eating.
Here’s how to make hidden vegetable mac and cheese
Hidden vegetable mac and cheese
- 1 medium sweet potato around 200g, peeled and diced
- 200 g chunk of butternut squash peeled and diced
- 200 g cauliflower broken into smallish florets
- 25 g butter
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 500 ml milk
- 100 g cheddar cheese
- 200 g macaroni or other pasta shape
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 50 g breadcrumbs
Place the vegetables together in a steamer and steam for 10-15 minutes until soft.
Bring a large pan of boiling water to the boil, add the macaroni and cook for 10 minutes or so, until just soft. I don't usually salt the water when I'm cooking for the kids but feel free to if you want.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir through the flour and whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring often, for around five minutes. Don't worry about the sauce thickening too much as you want it to be on the runny side for macaroni cheese.
Remove from the heat and add the cheese. Stir until melted.
Add the cooked vegetables to the sauce and blend until smooth.
Add the cooked pasta and mix well. If you like you can serve it like this or if you prefer then transfer to an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and grate a little more cheese over the top and cook in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling and the top is golden.
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