Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

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Scoop up a spoonful of this mouthwatering, butter-free mac and cheese with colorful roasted veggies! You can leave out the spice, if you’d like, for a kid-friendly option.

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese – No butter, lots of veggies, and family friendly! Everyone always raves about this mouthwatering mac! | thecomfortofcooking.com

Creamy, dreamy macaroni and cheese is my absolute favorite side dish, but I always feel like it needs a little pizzaz. Why mess with a good thing? I’ll tell you why… because you can plump it full of roasted veggies and make it healthier, more colorful and tastier than the old stand by. And hey, you can even make ‘em mini!

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese – No butter, lots of veggies, and family friendly! Everyone always raves about this mouthwatering mac! | thecomfortofcooking.com

This recipe has no butter, either! You can make a quick, scrumptious cheese sauce with olive oil instead. Using olive oil drastically cuts the cholesterol and saturated fat content, while also enhancing the dish’s flavor.

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese – No butter, lots of veggies, and family friendly! Everyone always raves about this mouthwatering mac! | thecomfortofcooking.com

With whole wheat pasta, creamy Sargento sharp cheddar, and a heap of hearty, crisp vegetables, this macaroni and cheese is mouthwateringly good. Make it as a side dish or a meatless dinner some weeknight! You can also toss in some cooked cut-up chicken, steak or shrimp for a filling all-in-one meal.

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese – No butter, lots of veggies, and family friendly! Everyone always raves about this mouthwatering mac! | thecomfortofcooking.com

Oh, stringy cheese how you weaken my knees!

Kick it up with a little spice from cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, and add some hot sauce to the finished dish if it’s still not scorching enough. This tasty mac also freezes well, so make it in advance or pop your leftovers in and enjoy them later.

Spicy Roasted Vegetable Macaroni and Cheese

Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli florets chopped into small chunks
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 1 yellow squash quartered and diced
  • 10 baby carrots sliced thinly
  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta elbow macaroni, rotini, penne, etc.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups 8 oz. Sargento® Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a medium pot of salted water to boil. Prepare a large baking sheet by lining with aluminum foil and coating with a little olive oil or nonstick cooking spray.
  • Toss broccoli, red pepper, squash and carrots onto the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until vegetables have softened. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • Once water is boiling, lower heat slightly and add pasta, cooking according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Whisk in flour and cook 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly until mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in cheddar cheese until well distributed and melted. Add red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Add macaroni and vegetables.
  • Place mixture in a large casserole dish and sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs. Place under the broiler in your oven (500 degrees) for 3-4 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  • Enjoy!

Join the Conversation

  1. This is perfect! I never would have thought to add so many delicious veggies to mac ‘n cheese! :D

  2. I’m making this recipe for dinner this week! I’ve been craving mac & cheese like crazy lately, but always feel guilty with a dinner that is only cheese and pasta. This looks like the perfect combo of rich and healthy!

  3. This mac & cheese looks so good. I love the idea of adding veggies.

  4. Girl, you have totally won me over with this mac and cheese! And the roasted veggies totally make it a health food, right? :P

  5. This looks great. I wonder if I could make a version using nutritional yeast instead of the cheese?

  6. I always LOVE finding new ways to jazz up macaroni and cheese Georgia! This is so my style. I like to sneak in veggies anywhere I can. And definitely kick up the spice!

  7. I love mac and cheese!! Never put veggies in before, but I’m thinking if I do it totally means that the cheese doesn’t count and I can eat it totally guilt free :)

  8. This is mac and cheese perfection. Love the roasted veggies!

  9. Wow, the food looks so delicious! And I just HAVE to comment on your photography because your pictures are so stunning and of great quality! Great job!

  10. Hi Reba – Sorry, I’m not totally familiar with nutritional yeast, but you can search for recipes for “cheese sauces” using it… I was able to locate a few!

  11. OMG I am literally drooling over this – and it has vegetables in it?! FTW :)

  12. Um yes. spicy mac n cheese? Yes please!

  13. I love everything about this recipe. The added spice is genius!!!

  14. delicious and somewhat healthy mac and cheese- yum!

  15. this looks SO good! i love roasted vegetables and having them in mac and cheese just sounds like the perfect combination!

  16. This looks so good, veggie pasta dishes with a cream sauce are my favourite :-)

  17. I’ve added veggies here and there to mac and cheese (usually the old standby broccoli) but roasting them? So smart! And with the red peppers … yum.

  18. Love this healthified version of one of my favorite comfort foods! I bet no one would ever miss the butter in this recipe!

  19. Mac and cheese is one of my favorite foods. Period. This healthier version sounds amazing. Can’t wait to try it!!

  20. This is definitely my kind of mac and cheese, and a sure way to get me to eat my daily serving of veggies!

  21. Oooh, I love this healthified version of mac and cheese. I think I could eat all six servings of this recipe on my own in one sitting! :-)

  22. This looks and sounds great. Mac & cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods but I rarely eat it anymore since it’s usually so rich. I love that your version is a lot healthier and lighter. Would love to give it a try.

  23. This is a must-try recipe for me. I am so excited to make one.

  24. You make mac and cheese look 5 star my friend, love it :D

    Cheers
    CCU

  25. Yum! This looks awesome. I love all the great veggies you added in!

  26. NO BUTTER? that is actually pretty amazing!

  27. Oh boy, yum! This looks amazing!

  28. Yum!!!
    This is a must make with all these veggies you have added..
    I am sure my kids will be happy and I will be happy with the fact that they had their veggies…LOL

  29. I love a good mac and cheese loaded with veggies. This sounds absolutely amazing!

  30. I am so psyched to try this recipe!

  31. If there is one thing I love the most in the world, it’s spicy food! I could eat anything as long as it’s spicy. The food sin this post look yummy and since they’re spicy, I am thankful you provided the recipe for these foods as I’m not going to waste time but try it out ASAP. I guess I’ll try the spicy roasted vegetable macaroni and cheese first. Looking forward to more of your spicy recipes!

  32. Betty Capps says:

    This recipe sounds amazing. Love all the ingredients. Will be trying very soon.

  33. Almost lunch time but nothing is ready for me and my daughter. I wish I have this right now…our day will become much better with this yummy mac and cheese!

  34. Mushrooms are listed in the directions, but not the ingredients list. Would that be about a half cup of sliced mushrooms? This recipe sounds so yummy. I’m anxious to make it.

  35. This looks so great! I’m interested in freezing/reheating instructions, if you have them to share. Thanks!

  36. Anonymous – Sorry, no mushrooms! I added them to the recipe originally but decided to omit them when I made it. Add them if you’d like to, though.

    Amy – You can freeze this dish covered for a few months. Bake at 350 degrees, 90 minutes covered should do it.

  37. I have always enjoyed Mac cheese.this looks like the real deal with all the veggies in it. This weekend is the time to try it. Lot’s of kids coming over.

  38. I did for dinner today and it was a hit. Thank you.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Is it necessary to use regular milk or can you use almond milk(unsweetened)?

  40. I made this for my family tonight- minus the spiciness cause theyre picky :( but it was delicious!! cant wait for the left overs tomorrow. thanks!

  41. Just made this, it came out really good although not quite as creamy/cheesy as I was hoping! I think all the pasta and veggies really soaked up the cheese sauce. Really yummy though, regardless! And it makes a lot – I live alone so I’ll have to freeze some for later!

  42. Anonymous says:

    Got to try this real soon,looks so yummy.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Made this as a side dish tonight. Yummy! Definitely will make again.

  44. Anonymous says:

    What size casserole dish did you use for this?

  45. The one you see pictured is about 10 inches across x 6 inches deep. But a dish around that size, or a 13 x 9, would also be fine.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Thank you! Last question :). How long did you leave everything in the skillet after adding the macaroni and vegetables. (I’m a newby)

  47. After adding the macaroni and vegetables, just give it a stir and add right to your casserole dish. Enjoy!

  48. Pinning! I want this for dinner today! Okay well maybe I’ll put it on the list for next week :)

  49. Oh. My. Word. This looks amazing!

  50. this is amazing! i made it for the first time tonight…so yummy and much healthier than regular mac n cheese! i did leave the spicy ingredients out for the sake of my toddler:)

  51. If I didn’t want to use the broiler, what is the alternative? Is there a temp and time for just putting in the oven?

  52. Just fyi, most ovens’ broil temp is 500 degrees. It’s not necessary to broil it, since it just makes the top a bit more crispy. If not broiling, omit the panko breadcrumbs and just serve. But if you’d like to bake it a bit, 350 for 10-15 minutes (with the panko topping) should give a little crispness to the top. Enjoy!

  53. So, I don’t even like mac and cheese, but this looks amazing! Once I can have cheese again, this will definitely be at the top of my list. We’ve been trying to find some recipes that are meatless, and I think this would be a great option.

    I featured this recipe on the Clarks Condensed Sunday Dinner Party, as one of the best recipes I have found this week on Pinterest. I hope you’ll come by, and link up one of your yummy recipes at my link party!

    http://www.clarkscondensed.com/2013/03/sunday-dinner-party-8.html

  54. I just made this the other night and not only is it incredibly easy but its ridiculously delicious.

  55. I made this today for Easter dinner. Yum. I love how you can’t taste the heat as you’re eating it but only once you stop. Then the spice kicks in. It was super easy too. Thanks for renewing my love for homemade Mac and cheese.

  56. Hi Wendy – I’m so happy you made and loved this recipe! Thanks for stopping by to let me know. Enjoy the rest of your Easter day!

  57. Thanks for this wonderful recipe.
    I tried this out, and finally had a mac and cheese that even we adults could enjoy :-)

  58. Looks awesome-Do you have any nutritional info for this?

  59. I don’t, sorry. This is a great site for looking up nutritional info of recipes though: http://bit.ly/11LQo0

  60. What is the flour for? Does it serve as a thickening agent?

  61. Yes! It’s needed to make the roux for the cheese sauce.

  62. I love macaroni and cheese and I’m loving this twist on it! And it looks easy! Thanks for the idea. :)

  63. This looks delicious! I am allergic to cheddar cheese, which makes finding a good Mac and cheese recipe very difficult. Any suggestions on what cheese would be a good substitution?

  64. You could try Monterey Jack or Pepperjack. American, Muenster and Swiss cheeses might also be good subs too!

  65. Found you via pinterest and tried this recipe tonight for dinner. Delish!!! Definitely entering our meal rotation. Thank you for sharing!! :-)

  66. Laura Adams says:

    This recipe is wonderful! I’m making a habit of meal planning every week, and I had this on the list for last night. My husband loved it so much, he went back for seconds, and I was ok with that since there’s no butter and lots of veggies! I love how it’s not overly cheesy and you can taste everything in it. I added some sausage coins for meat and Cholula hot sauce for an extra kick. Thank you so much for a beautiful dish!

  67. I am SO glad i found this site!! I made this last night and even my super picky-wont eat anything unless its a chicken nugget or a cream cheese bagel 6 yr old ate it… He didnt LOVE it hahaha… but HE ATE IT!!!! And it was soooo good. I added zucchini to mine and used trottole pasta… Man, Georgia. You put your foot in this one. I cant wait to try your other recipes!

  68. Wow. So so good.

  69. this very delicious,,,
    thank you so much,,,

  70. Ashlee Marie says:

    I was wondering if you have tried making a double portion of this recipe? my husband and i both loved it and was hoping i could make a bunch! it there anything you would recommend as far as changing cooking times or anything? thank you so much.

  71. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve never tried doubling it, but I don’t see any reason why not to. You may need to bake the vegetables in batches, or use two trays, but since the mac and cheese isn’t baked (just broiled), there shouldn’t be any need to up the broiling time.

  72. I made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome! I had some mozzarella cheese that I needed to use, so I used about 1/2 cup of that and the other 1 1/2 cups of sharp cheddar. I also added sundried tomatoes and chicken and made a whole meal out of it. Definitely a winner!

  73. I NEVER comment on food blogs — I usually just pop around here and there for recipe inspiration and to drool over the photography. However, I made this a few weeks ago, and it’s literally one of the BEST meals I’ve ever had.

  74. I just wanted to say thank you for this delicious recipe. We have made it 3 times in the last 2 weeks (I took one to a sick friend) and we absolutely love it! It is easy, the colors are gorgeous, and so yummy. Thank you so much for one of our new favorite meals!

    DarlingDoodlesDesign.com

  75. Looks so good!! Will be making it tonight. Does it matter what type of milk you use? (Skim vs 2%…) Thanks!!

  76. I used skim (fat-free), but any will do! The higher the fat content, the creamier the taste, but it was still very creamy with skim.

  77. Do you think I could make this in a crockpot? Wanting to take it to a cookout and want it to stay warm. Just wondering what you think?!

  78. I honestly can’t recommend it, since I’ve never made it in a CrockPot. But you could easily keep it warm by just covering it with foil. That’s what I’ve done in the past!

  79. This looks AMAZING – can’t wait to try it! But how much does this recipe make? Is it a good amount for a side dish for a dinner for two? Or should I double the recipe?

  80. Thanks Erin! The recipe makes 6 servings, as it says above.

  81. Nancy BW says:

    Does this mean 2 cups uncoooked pasta or cooked?
    Thanks!

  82. The recipe states cooking instructions for the pasta, so the ingredients call for uncooked pasta.

  83. Chelsie K says:

    Made this for my family tonight! Delicious!!
    I especially loved the addition of vegetables!
    I will definitely be making this one again.
    Thank you!

  84. Made this for dinner tonight. Big hit with both my husband and toddler. I added about 3/4 lb of ground beef since we’re the type who HAS to have meat at supper. Adding it to our rotation!

  85. I am always looking for different ways to jazz up my mac n’ cheese. THIS recipe is a MUST try.

  86. i have to cook this weekend. going to get ready all the ingredients.

  87. Would you happen to have the nutritional values per serving ?? Looks delish!!

  88. You can look up the nutritional values by copying and pasting the ingredients here: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

  89. This looks amazing and I would love to convert this to gluten free. I have pasta and GF breadcrumbs but not sure how to make a roux with GF flour. Has anyone tried that??

  90. Rowanvamp0 says:

    I was reading the comments and noticed that some say it’s not very cheesy, my family loves cheesy so how would you tweak the cheese sauce for a more creamy mac and cheese?…thanks bunches

  91. I’m not sure what comments you’re referencing, but trust me, it is still a very cheesy and creamy mac ‘n cheese! As you cook it just see if it suits your tastes and change it up if it doesn’t. You could try adding more cheese to the sauce or less macaroni to the mixture.

  92. I just made this tonight and it was great but a little dry. What do you think I did wrong? Even dry my kids and I loved it but I think the left overs may not be as good. Will you Help me figure it out because I’d like to try this again.? Thanks for your help. I followed the directions exactly! Used 2% milk.

  93. I’m not sure, only thing I can guess is that the cream sauce reduced to too little to coat the pasta.

  94. Made this last night, it was super yummy. I’ve always been afraid of making a cheese sauce, but it’s actually really simple.
    I tweaked it just a little by changing up the veggies to what we had from our CSA box: carrots, cherry tomatoes, egg plant and sweet gypsy peppers. I love that you can just use whatever you have sitting around. I also cut the seasoning down, about half of what was called for. If you have midwestern taste buds I recommend you do the same. It was a sneaky, slow burning heat, not an in your face scorching heat. I also saved myself a dish by making the cheese sauce in my dutch oven and then adding everything to that when the sauce was done. I HATE doing dishes.

  95. I have a family of 5 and my husband and son eat a lot lol is this enough or should I double it?

  96. This recipe makes quite a bit, but if you make more there’s always the upside of having leftovers!

  97. Just made this for dinner tonight! It turned out really well!

    I should have used a nicer cheese. I’m in college so I typically grocery shop on a pretty tight budget, but using the store brand cheese I could really taste a difference in quality. Heads up to anyone who makes it – splurge on a nice cheese :)

    Everything else was easy to follow and great!

  98. This is SO good!! I love sneaking veggies into traditional menu items and with the bit of spice it is perfect!

  99. Yum! Just made this for dinner and it was a hit! Loved adding the roasted veggies!

  100. I made this last night, subbed in Quinoa pasta and soy milk to really drive home the healthy factor. I also tossed in some extra veggies and ancho peppers. Delicious. My only suggestion would be to increase the sauce portions by 50% to account for the Quinoa pasta and extra veggies. Other than that, amazing recipe, thanks!

  101. I love love love this recipe! It’s one of our favorite dinners. I make it without the added spice though, because my guys don’t like spicy. I made it and shared on my blog today with credits back to you. Thank you for a great recipe!

  102. I just saw this while figuring out what to cook for dinner. Now I have to go grocery shopping and get the ingredients as this is what I want to have for dinner & nothing else!!

  103. Oh my goodness! I made this for dinner last night and it was delicious. Couple things to note. For some reason I was having trouble getting the milk to thicken up so I added about 2 1/2 additional Tbs. of flour than the recipe says, Also, I cut the cayenne pepper in half and it was the perfect amount of heat for me. ALSO, I was super nervous when I took it out of the oven because I thought it was too runny. But I let it sit for 10 mins and it was just perfect. Thanks for the great recipe. Will definitely make this again.

  104. serenity8675 says:

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was delicious!! My veggie-hating boyfriend ate 3 bowls, so it is definitely a keeper!!

  105. I am SO glad that I found this recipe on Pinterest. It is a new favorite for my husband and I. I really don’t think I can eat mac ‘n cheese any other way. We have made this an outrageous amount of times in the last 2 months. And I am a little sad I didn’t buy stuff to make it this week. I could literally eat it every day. Thank you for the recipe! We will be making it for many years to come! The only changes I made were to add s&p to the veggies before roasting and add a little more s&p and red pepper flakes to the cheese sauce than called for.

  106. I made this recipe tonight, and it was amazing !! I browned a cup of chopped up ham , and added it also . We will for sure be making this again !

  107. Rebecca Rose says:

    i found this on Pinterest, and it is wonderful! We’re making it for the second time tonight. I took away some of the healthful benefits by adding some cooked, chopped ham that needed to be used. I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard, because I love that flavor. This is a recipe I will return to again and again! Thanks!

  108. Made this the other night and it was gone immediately! So yummy! Will definitely be making again, thanks for posting!!!

  109. Hi! I made this for dinner tonight for my daughter and I and it is delicious! Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! :)

  110. its good, and very delicious i want so many vegetarian recipe

  111. Hi! I stumbled upon your blog after looking for mac and cheese recipes on Pinterest. I’m so glad I found your recipe. I made this twice in the past couple weeks and I can not emphasize how easy and absolutely DIVINE this mac and cheese is!!! I added more chili flakes and mixed in some melted butter with the breadcrumbs and then popped the dish under the broiler for 5 – 6 minutes and it comes out PERFECT!

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to explore your blog and try your other recipes!

  112. I made this recipe over the weekend & have been eating it for lunch/dinner every day. It’s delicious! I love how versatile the recipe is too. I added in additional veggies and all the tastes mixed together are perfect. I also love how you can customize the recipe to meet your needs. I used almond milk and less cheese to make it even healthier, and it tastes perfect! People could even skip the cayenne pepper (if they don’t want it spicy), and this would be like a pasta primavera meets macaroni & cheese. Thanks for a great recipe. I’ll be using this one for years to come.

  113. 2 cups of dry pasta in grams or oz please

  114. Nice, thanks for sharing

  115. I hope I’m not fat. rsrs….delicius food.

  116. Very delicius, great

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