Super Smoky Mac and Cheese with Butternut Squash and Kale

9 Mar

Though Asian food is my general go to, there are two American comfort classics that hold a special place in my heart/favorite food list: mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

Oh how I love mac and cheese: baked with a bready crust, tangy with sharp cheddar, spicy with green chile – the combo doesn’t really matter as long as it has the gooey deliciousness.  Well this “healthy” version has it.  Though the calorie content is not too different, the squash and kale add tons of vitamins.  Greek yogurt and almond milk replace butter and milk for an extra creamy delicious consistency. I opted for brown rice pasta as well, though any pasta would work.

You may be skeptical of adding all the veggies, but I promise you this won’t disappoint. It is outrageously good and I had to hold myself back from eating the whole pan.


8 oz elbow noodles, cooked (I used brown rice noodles – Tinkyada are my favorite, they have a normal noodle texture)

3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 cups kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small shallot, minced

6 oz smoked gouda, grated

1.5 oz monterey jack, grated

1/3 cup non-fat Chobani greek yogurt

1/3 cup almond milk

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, pureed



Put water on to boil for pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil. Put the squash  in the skillet with a dash of  salt and saute until soft and a bit browned, stirring occasionally.

After about 5 minutes, add  the chipotle peppers and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until tender.

Once the squash is tender, add the kale and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. You can add water if needed but the you probably won’t need it.  Add the minced garlic and shallot and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Cover the pan until the pasta is done.

When the pasta is done, drain it, reserving some of the past water. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, squash/kale mixture, cheese, yogurt, almond milk, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Add pasta water and more almond milk as necessary to get desired texture. Serve immediately.

Adapted from A Couple Cooks


7 Responses to “Super Smoky Mac and Cheese with Butternut Squash and Kale”

  1. Paulo Loreto March 9, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    I love how Mac & Cheese has evolved and, today, there are SO MANY varieties!

  2. Stephanie March 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    Did you read my mind? I really want to make mac n’ cheese!! it is on my list of things to learn how to make. can’t wait to try this.

  3. Shira March 10, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Delicious, and sneaky with the kale 😉 ! Mac and Cheese with veggies, yum!

  4. When Harry Met Celery March 26, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    I love the recipe 🙂 How can one go wrong with mac and cheese! Yum!

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