This easy, gluten-free, one-pot mac ‘n cheese is a family favorite at my house, even with the hidden veggies. When my kids see it on the menu, they do the happy dance. Truth be told, I do too.
Homemade is always better.
Growing up, while most of my friends were chowing down on electric orange Kraft macaroni and “cheese,” I feasted on my mom’s homemade version made with healthy whole wheat pasta (I wasn’t gluten-free back then), goat’s milk fresh from a goat, shredded white cheddar cheese, and mustard.
Of course I thought it was amazing (’cause it was), but whenever my friends came over for dinner and were served our delicious homemade mac ‘n cheese, they inevitably would push it around on their plates without trying it, saying something about how it “wasn’t orange.”
Seriously. Since when does orange food = tasty food? Unless you’re actually talking about an orange, or a carrot, or a cantaloupe, or a peach (which isn’t really orange either, I guess). But anyway, you get my point.
Most of America’s brains need a little reconditioning when it comes to real food.
A healthier option.
Thankfully, my kids don’t understand the prevailing American thought that the color of your food makes it taste better or worse. When my 8-year old sees a box of fruit snacks at the grocery store, she announces to the world that they have food coloring it them and therefore are unhealthy. When she sees a box of cereal, it’s all about how much sugar is in it. #momwin
If you’re in need of more real-food-ified foods, here are a few of my kiddos’ favorites:
- Easy Homemade Grain-Free Mini Pizzas
- 4-Ingredient Paleo Poopsicles (a.k.a. fudgesicles)
- Easy Sweet Potato Fries in the Oven
- Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot
- Grapefruit Gummies
- Homemade Honey Roasted Peanuts
But back to the macaroni and cheese…
Hidden veggies for the win!
Even though my kids love their veggies, I’m all about hiding veggies in things. Sweet potatoes in smoothies, spinach and kale in a chocolate frosty, etc. This tasty easy homemade mac ‘n cheese boasts cooked carrots and chicken broth!
Note: if you don’t have cooked carrots on hand, you can use pumpkin or butternut squash too! I have a delicious dairy-free mac ‘n cheese that uses butternut in the sauce, if you’re dairy-free.) The flavor will change a little, but it will still be a delicious and nutritious way to get veggies into your kiddos.
In the recipe card I’ve linked to some of the products from my affiliate partners that I like to use. Purchasing through these links won’t cost you anything extra. Thanks!
Easy, One-Pot Mac 'n Cheese with Hidden Veggies
Free from gluten, eggs, and sugar.
- 16 ounces gluten-free pasta (I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbows)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1 3/4 – 2 cups chicken broth, or whole milk (use lesser amount and add in extra if needed)
- 2 cups leftover cooked carrots
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Himalayan salt, to taste
Bring water to boil in large pot.
Cook pasta according directions.
Meanwhile, puree cooked carrots and chicken broth in a blender until smooth.
Shred cheese, if not using pre-shredded (I buy a brick and shred it myself – saves money!).
When the pasta is done, turn off the heat, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot.
Stir in the butter until melted. Sprinkle buttery noodles with tapioca starch.
Stir in until pasta is coated, then pour in the sauce. Mix gently, but well, to coat, then add cheese.*
Stir until cheese is melted, then serve!
Makes about 6 servings.
* During the cheese melting stage, you may need to turn the burner back on low heat to melt the cheese completely.