Mac & Cheese with Collards

Mac & Cheese with Collards

6 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2015

Dark leafy collards add bold flavor and boost the calcium in this healthy skillet mac and cheese recipe with a crispy topping. If you don't have collards, kale, Swiss chard and spinach are delicious substitutes.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow noodles (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cups chopped collard greens
  • 1¾ cups low-fat milk, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon paprika


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and collards and cook according to the pasta package directions. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1½ cups milk in a large broiler-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just simmering. Whisk the remaining ¼ cup milk, flour, salt and pepper in a small bowl until combined. Add the flour mixture to the simmering milk; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in Cheddar, cream cheese and vinegar until the cheese is melted. Stir the pasta and collards into the sauce.
  3. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high.
  4. Combine breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta. Broil until golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1⅔ cups
  • Per serving: 470 calories; 19 g fat(9 g sat); 7 g fiber; 57 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 86 mcg folate; 45 mg cholesterol; 7 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 2,563 IU vitamin A; 13 mg vitamin C; 450 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 584 mg sodium; 363 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (51% daily value), Calcium (45% dv), Folate (22% dv), Vitamin C (22% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 4
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, ½ vegetable, ½ low-fat milk, 1 high-fat meat, 1½ fat

Reviews 6

August 01, 2018
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By: Dezrah
Great recipe! Here are some of my tweaks/suggestions: Add some hot sauce (~1 tsp) to the cheese sauce at the final step. The cheese will mellow when it melts and this brings back some of the sharpness. Substitute frozen spinach for collard greens. Not necessary to defrost completely. Add about a cup to hot pasta just before sauce. Don't be married to elbow macaroni. Most shaped pastas will work just fine, so have fun with it or just use up what you have.
November 09, 2017
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By: Pamela
Delicious and relatively easy to make! I added bacon pieces for an extra kick.
June 15, 2016
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By: EatingWell User
My go-to Mac & Cheese now! I love this recipe, my husband does too! We have a lot of greens in the garden in the winter and it is a good use of greens. Sometimes when I need a little extra delicious crunchyness I double the bread crumbs. Other than that, I make it as is and it's fabulous. Pros: Not too difficult a recipe, greens are good
September 18, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Perfect! I replaced the collards with bacon crumbles... Delish! You could use turkey bacon as well.
March 05, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
The Go-to Mac and Cheese Recipe! So good! I have a garden full of kale and collards, so I'll be making this a lot. I found I needed to add a little salt. Pros: Fast, easy, adaptable, good use for garden greens Cons: Needs a bit more salt
January 04, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Great one-pot meal. I used pepper jack cheese for a kick and organic baby kale. Leftovers make for good lunch at work the next day too! Pros: NULL Cons: NULL
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