This healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is topped with plenty of golden breadcrumbs. If you want to add a little flair to this healthy macaroni and cheese, use aged Gruyere instead of Cheddar and add extra ingredients like peas, chopped cooked mushrooms or chopped ham. This recipe makes more Cream Sauce without the Cream than you'll need for the macaroni and cheese. Refrigerate or freeze the extra sauce and use it in place of heavy cream in any sauce or soup that calls for cream. Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2013

John Ash


Cream Sauce without the Cream
Mac & Cheese


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare cream sauce: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more. Add broth and wine and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the rice is very soft and the liquid is greatly reduced, about 25 minutes. Cool slightly.

  • Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree, in batches if necessary, until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in the pot with an immersion blender.) The consistency should be similar to a pourable sauce; add more broth or water as needed. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, preferably white pepper.

  • To prepare mac & cheese: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 6-cup (or similar-size) baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 3 to 4 minutes less than the

  • package directions. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish.

  • Combine 2 1/2 cups of the Cream Sauce and Cheddar (or Gruyere) in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until melted. Season with pepper and hot sauce. Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently stir to combine. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl and sprinkle over the casserole.

  • Bake until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate cream sauce (Steps 1 & 2) for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on your microwave.

Tip: To make your own fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. To make fine breadcrumbs, process until very fine. To make dry breadcrumbs, spread coarse or fine breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, about 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled “Panko breadcrumbs.” Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.

Variation: To make the sauce vegetarian, we like to use chicken-flavored vegetarian broth over regular vegetable broth for its hearty, rich flavor and pale yellow color. Look for “no-chicken” broth in the natural-foods section of well-stocked supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts

512 calories; total fat 17.6g 27% DV; saturated fat 7.3g; cholesterol 33mg 11% DV; sodium 729mg 29% DV; potassium 325mg 9% DV; carbohydrates 65.1g 21% DV; fiber 6.1g 24% DV; sugar 3g; protein 22.1g 44% DV; exchange other carbs 5; vitamin a iu 494IU; vitamin c 4mg; folate 73mcg; calcium 303mg; iron 3mg; magnesium 83mg; thiaminmg; added sugar 1g.

Reviews (2)

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Rating: 3 stars
Creamy and Comforting This is a creamy comforting dish that can satisfy a craving for mac and cheese without over-the-top fat and calories. I used reduced-fat cheddar instead of regular but will use full fat next time...the recipe needs it. The crunchy top is great. Pros: Creamy comforting Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Tasty For those of you who like cheese a lot this may not be the recipe for you. It only has a cup of cheddar cheese and a little bit of parm cheese on the top. However my husband who loves cheese likes it. The recipe involves a substitute cream recipe that you can use for other recipes that need a white cream recipe which I thought tasted better than the fattening cream. For the bread crumbs I ended up using regular and panko mixed together so that it was extra crispy on the top. Good comfort recipe! Pros: Creamy and crunchy Read More