Bliss. You get bliss. Ready to try?
This recipe takes a little bit longer to make compared to other ones on WWL recipes, but I promise it’s worth it.
The main ingredients are cauliflower, zucchini, bell pepper, pasta, cheese and milk. Flour and butter are involved too.
Let’s talk about what you can change!
Other veggies that will work for this mac n’ cheese recipe
We want to focus on veggies that will roast well (which includes most of them). Here are some ideas for veggies you could roast for this recipe if you’re not into cauliflower, zucchini and/or red bell pepper.
- Green beans
- Cherry tomatoes
- Summer squash
- Butternut squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Sweet potato
- Onions of all colors
Pro tip: if you’re in a rush, go for zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms and onions — vegetables that could be good to go after 15 minutes in the oven.
What pasta to use
So this recipe doesn’t have a “direct” protein source, but I promise it’s still super satisfying and will keep you full for awhile. That being said, you can totally use protein pasta, like Banza chickpea pasta, to round it out a little bit more.
Any “short” pasta will work. Penne, macaroni elbows, rotini, ziti, bowtie pasta etc.
Use gluten-free if needed!
Want to add more protein?
If you know you’ll feel better with a direct source of protein in this meal, here are some suggestions:
- While you’re at it, roast the chicken breasts in the oven with the veggies! Then you can cut or shred them up and mix chicken breast into your mac n’ cheese.
- You can use protein pasta (as I mentioned above).
- You can cook ground meat or “meat” crumbles on the side and mix them into the mac.
- Or cook chicken sausage/veggie sausage to add to the mac.
- Add chickpeas or white beans to the mac for extra plant-based protein.
- If you’re feeling confident, you can blend your cheese sauce with soft/medium tofu in a blender or food processor to add protein to your cheese sauce. Just make sure to add extra salt!
I’m all about giving you the space to make the executive culinary decisions on your own, so go with your gut when it comes to the cheese.
You can’t go wrong with cheddar. But mozzarella, pepper jack, Monterey jack, Mexican cheese blends and even a mix of your favorite cheeses would also work!
Choose based on what sounds good, what you have available and/or what’s most affordable.
Pro tip: cheese blocks are always cheaper than pre-shredded cheese. Just grate it at home!
I can’t wait to see how it comes out.
How to add more volume or double this recipe.
To double this recipe, simply double the ingredients! It’s okay if your sheet pans are a little crowded since the veggies are going in the mac anyway. You may need to use two baking dishes or one gigantic baking dish.
To add more volume, I would add another veggie and/or a protein source mentioned above. I think ground meat or chicken/veg sausage or beans (chickpeas or white beans) would be easiest.
Storage & reheating notes:
This roasted veggie mac n’ cheese can last for up to 5 days in the fridge. It’s freezer friendly for 3-6 months. Ideally, reheat it in the microwave, in the oven or on the stove! We reheated a frozen mac n’ cheese on the stove the other day and it turned out fine.
Roasted Cauliflower, Zucchini & Red Bell Pepper Mac N' Cheese (Vegetarian)
- 1/2 head cauliflower chopped into florets
- 1 zucchini chopped into quarters
- 1 red bell pepper chopped into strips
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 6 oz short pasta of your choice (I used Banza Chickpea Pasta)
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups milk of your choice add more if needed
- 8 oz shredded cheese of your choice
- cooking spray
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup bread crumbs optional
- Preheat the oven to 400 F
- In a bowl, toss the cauliflower florets with 1 TBSP olive oil and salt and pepper to taste (at least 1/2 tsp salt). Pour the seasoned cauliflower on a baking sheet and place it in the oven for 25 minutes, shaking the pan/rotating the cauliflower halfway through.
- In the same bowl, toss the zucchini and red bell pepper with the remaining 1 TBSP olive oil, and more salt and pepper to taste. Pour the zucchini and red bell pepper on a second baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
- Cook the pasta according to the package. *If you're using Banza chickpea pasta, check the pasta a few minutes early and make sure to rinse with cold water when it's done for best results.
- Meanwhile, add the butter to a saucepan on the stove over medium heat. When the butter is melted, add the flour. Stir until well combined (it will be a thick mixture). Then, raise the heat a bit and slowly add the milk in batches. Bring it to a low boil, whisking frequently. Then add the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese has fully melted. Remove from the heat.
- Spray a baking dish (medium-sized like 9x9 or 8x11) with cooking spray. Add the pasta, mac and cheese sauce and roasted veggies, then mix it all together in the baking dish (this is the easiest way to cut down on clean up). Top with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese if using. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. When it's done, let it cool a little before slicing into thirds and dividing it between three meal prep containers.