Vegetable macaroni cheese recipe

(503 ratings)

This healthy, lower-fat vegetable macaroni cheese is much healthier than your average macaroni cheese recipe and has plenty of cream cheese flavour too

vegetable macaroni cheese
  • Low-fat
  • healthy
Preparation Time5 mins
Cooking Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Five A DayOne
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories458 Kcal23%
Sugar9.2 g10%
Fat14.9 g21%
Saturated Fat8.4 g42%
Salt0.3 gRow 4 - Cell 2
Protein22.4 g45%
Carbohydrates61.2 g24%
Salt0.3 gRow 7 - Cell 2

This vegetable macaroni cheese is crammed full with broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes in a delicious creamy sauce. 

Homemade macaroni beats anything you can buy in the shops. Processed versions often have a slightly synthetic taste - not the case with this from-scratch version. This recipe also contains plenty of vegetables to count towards your five-a-day. But what is really remarkable is how quick it is to put together - you can have it on the table in just 20 minutes. The bulk of the cooking is boiling the pasta, and throwing the vegetables in the pan after a few minutes to bubble along as well. After that, you literally just pop it under the grill to crisp for a few minutes. It's under 500 calories per portion, making it one of our favourite healthy pasta recipes.


  • 250g macaroni
  • 1 large leek, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 300g mixed broccoli and cauliflower florets
  • 350ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1tsp English mustard
  • 125g extra-mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1tbsp Parmesan, freshly grated




  1. Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling salted water. Bring back to the boil for 5 mins, then add the veg and cook for another 5-8 mins, until pasta and broccoli are almost tender. Drain, keeping about 150ml of the cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, put the milk in a large jug, whisk in the flour, and microwave for a few minutes, whisking occasionally, to make a thick sauce. Or make in a pan. Whisk in some of the cooking water to slacken sauce. Stir in the mustard and about a third of the cheese, and season.
  3. Pre-heat the grill. Warm a flameproof dish under it for a few minutes. Mix the pasta and vegetables into the sauce. Spoon the mixture into the hot dish and sprinkle with the rest of the Cheddar. Arrange the tomatoes on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Brown the macaroni cheese under the grill.

Top tips for making vegetable macaroni cheese

It’s better to use a small amount of extra-mature Cheddar, rather than low-fat Cheddar. The low fat cheese has less flavour, so you’ll use more.

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Jessica Dady
Food Editor

Jessica Dady is Food Editor at GoodtoKnow and has over 11 years of experience as a digital editor, specialising in all things food, recipes, and SEO. From the must-buy seasonal food hampers and advent calendars for Christmas to the family-friendly air fryers that’ll make dinner time a breeze, Jessica loves trying and testing various food products to find the best of the best for the busy parents among us. Over the years of working with GoodtoKnow, Jessica has had the privilege of working alongside Future’s Test Kitchen to create exclusive videos - as well as writing, testing, and shooting her own recipes. When she’s not embracing the great outdoors with her family at the weekends, Jessica enjoys baking up a storm in the kitchen with her favourite bakes being chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, and a tray of gooey chocolate brownies