Lightened-Up Mac & Cheese

Love mac & cheese? Me too! But, of course, I don’t love how it’s loaded with calories and fat and usually falling short on nutrients. You know what I’m talking about, right? Pasta, cheese, butter, more cheese”¦ not the healthiest ingredients.

With that in mind, I created a remade version using Brussels sprouts, spinach, Greek yogurt, reduced-fat cheddar, garlic, almond milk and almond flour. Quite the all-star cast, right?

Lightened-Up Mac & Cheese (900x600)

I pumped up the volume of the whole wheat elbow macaroni by adding nutrient-packed Brussels sprouts and spinach. The typically heavy cheese sauce is replaced by a slimmed-down version made with nonfat Greek yogurt, low-calorie almond milk and reduced-fat cheddar cheese, but it doesn’t lose out on its great taste thanks to some whole grain mustard, minced garlic, and other spices. The dish is finished off with a sprinkling of almond flour in place of traditional breadcrumbs to further keep the calorie count down. Basically, this dish is one of the most delicious mac & cheese recipes out there (at 365 calories per serving), so be sure to put it on your ”˜must try’ list!

1205 (600x900)

Serves 4 (each serving is 1.25 cups)


  • 2 ounces (2/3 cup) whole wheat elbow macaroni
  • 10 ounces Brussels sprouts
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 small container (approximately 5.3 ounces) plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) reduced-fat shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour


Cook pasta as directed.

Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and then cut in half. Lay them cut-side down and finely minced.

Place Brussels sprouts, spinach and 1/4 cup water in a microwavable-safe bowl. Cover and cook in microwave for 7-8 minutes until Brussels sprouts are soft.

Meanwhile in a saucepan on the stovetop, make the cheese sauce. Combine Greek yogurt, cheddar, Parmesan, garlic, mustard, almond milk, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat, whisking frequently, until cheddar is fully melted.

Remove Brussels sprouts and spinach from microwave and drain water from mixture, then combine with cheese sauce. Mix together well.

Pour pasta-vegetable mixture into an oven-safe dish and spread evenly. Top with almond flour and place under broiler in oven for 3-5 minutes until top is golden brown.

Serve immediately.

I created this recipe for the Almond Board of California; check out my other delicious, comfort food remake recipes here:


  1. This is like pasta covered in spinach dip! I could get behind that. Perhaps with the addition of some artichoke for more healthy fat?

  2. This looks delicious Tina! I’m going to try making it with gluten and dairy free substitutes.

    On a side note, your props turned out amazing. Makes me want to go shopping at Crate and Barrel or World Market 😉

  3. Every time I see a recipe with almond flour in it I think, “Well I don’t want to buy almond flour for just ONE recipe.” However for a while now I’ve seen almond flour pop up in more and more of your recipes. Could you do a round up post of what you use almond flour for? Thanks! 🙂

  4. WOW! What a great recipe idea. How did you come up with this? I love brussel sprouts & spinach. I’ve avoided pasta for years because I haven’t figured out how to replace the heavy creams & cheeses to make them still taste good. Any idea on the # of calories per serving?

  5. This sauce–well my version of it–is amazing!! I didn’t have any plain greek yog or cheddar so I used an extra laughing cow wedge, some milk, grated gouda and some dry white wine and let it simmer for awhile, put the sauce on top of some left over spaghetti squash and grilled chicken made for the perfect little bowl of wonderful today! YUM! Thanks for posting delicious and healthier recipes.

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