Mac and cheese is a classic fall dish, but we often try to stay away from it due to all the fat and calories. However, this season, you can indulge in your favorite creamy sensation with none of the guilt. This creamy, cheesy dish is loaded with vegetables, allowing you to get your daily nutrients in while still being able to eat your favorite noodles.
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- 1 lb whole wheat macaroni
- 5 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 large parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
- 3 sage leaves, chopped
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
- 3/4-1 cup milk
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp ground flax seed
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta 3 minutes less than the package instructs. Drain and set aside.
3. Place garlic cloves on a piece of foil and wrap into a little pouch. Place the parsnips, cauliflower, rutabaga, on a sheet pan and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the thyme, sage, and garlic pouch and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until soft and just lightly caramelized. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
4. Remove the garlic from the foil pouch and add to the carafe of a blender. Scrape the remaining roasted veggies into the blender. Add milk and puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the mixture into a dutch oven or high sided saute pan and simmer over low heat. Add the cheese and stir until the mixture is creamy. Stir in the pasta and transfer to a baking dish.
6. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, ground flax seed, remaining tablespoon olive oil, and salt. Sprinkle over the top of the baking dish. Place into the oven and cook until golden brown and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.
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This recipe was recently featured in Oz Investigates: Are You Being Tricked by Artificial Sweeteners in Foods You Would Never Suspect?.