Protein Broccoli Cheddar Mac + Cheese

Six ingredient mac + cheese stuffed with protein, veggies, and deliciousness—basically a dream come true. And for my gluten-free friends, this one’s for you.

Who doesn’t love mac + cheese?

I love the stuff, but I’m not always down for eating just cheese and noodles for dinner. I need a little meat and veggies to feel semi-good about my meal choice.

But alas, there I was watching Parks and Rec, wishing someone would bring me a big bowl of cheesy noodles, when a light bulb went off in my head. I ran to the kitchen, checked the cupboards, and got to work. That’s when Protein Broccoli Cheddar Mac + Cheese was born.

I wanted it to be healthy, easy, and quick—meaning I needed a quality pasta, a simple cheese sauce, meat, and veggies. I had a box of green lentil pasta in the cupboard (cha-ching), grabbed a few dairy products from the fridge, chicken sausage, and broccoli.

I like lentil pasta because the ingredients are literally lentils and peas. And the best part, there’s 18 grams of protein per serving! Chicken apple sausage was the perfect choice for meat because: 1) it was already in my fridge and 2) it’s gluten free, Whole30 approved, and there’s no added hormones.

I grabbed a couple pots and my pampered chef micro-cooker. I cooked a bag of frozen broccoli in the microwave for six minutes while boiling water for the noodles. Because the florets were pretty large, I roughly chopped them when they came out of the microwave. While the knife was out, I sliced up two chicken sausages. Then, in the smaller pot, I put the pasta and sausage into the boiling water.

At the same time, I started making the cheese sauce. On a low heat, I added the cheese and milk to the larger pot—stirring as it melted together. Once the noodles were just about done, not completely done because I didn’t want them to fall apart when I stirred them into the cheese sauce, I drained the water. Before adding them to the cheese sauce, I added some salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt to the mixture for another layer of protein and cream.

When the sauce met its smooth and creamy consistency, I dumped the noodles, sausage, and broccoli into the cheese pot. This required gentle stirring to evenly coat the goods without shredding the noodles to pieces.

My taste buds went nuts after the first bite—begging my fork to go back for more, which didn’t take much convincing. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as Jackson and I did.

Protein Broccoli Cheddar Mac + Cheese

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Cook the broccoli in the microwave for 6 minutes. When it’s done, roughly cut the broccoli into smaller chunks.
  2. Bring water to a boil. Dump the pasta and sausage into the water. Cook until it’s almost ready. Be careful not to overcook as it could fall apart when you add it to the cheese mixture.
  3. At the same time, begin the cheese sauce in another pot on low. Add the milk and cheese and stir until there’s an even consistency. When the noodles are almost ready, mix in the Greek yogurt until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Next, add the pasta, sausage, and broccoli to the cheese sauce and gently stir. Enjoy!

*If you use regular milk, use half the amount as it will make the sauce more runny.
**Shredding your own cheese will make the sauce thinner. Use less milk if you want a thicker sauce.