Fiber-rich sweet potato is used as the base for the cheese sauce in this healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. The bright orange color tricks your eyes into thinking this healthy macaroni and cheese recipe is loaded with cheese, but there's actually only about half as much cheese as compared to a traditional recipe.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, January/February 2014


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Position a rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a 2-quart broiler-safe baking dish with cooking spray.

  • Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water until just tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain; set aside.

  • Meanwhile, prick sweet potato with a fork in several places. Microwave on High until tender all the way to the center, 7 to 10 minutes.

  • Whisk milk, flour and garlic in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking frequently, until steaming and hot, but not boiling. Remove from heat.

  • As soon as the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, cut open and scoop the flesh into the steaming milk. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. (Alternatively, transfer to a blender and puree just until smooth, then return to the pot; use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)

  • Add cheese, mustard, salt and pepper and stir until the cheese melts. Add the pasta and peas to the sauce and stir to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Combine breadcrumbs and oil and sprinkle on the pasta. Broil on the upper rack until the top is lightly browned and crispy, 1 to 2 minutes.


Tip: To make your own coarse dry breadcrumbs to top this baked mac & cheese, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread, tear the bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, 10 to 15 minutes. (One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs.)

Nutrition Facts

481 calories; protein 23.9g 48% DV; carbohydrates 68g 22% DV; exchange other carbs 4.5; dietary fiber 9.8g 39% DV; sugars 12.6g; fat 14.2g 22% DV; saturated fat 7.3g 36% DV; cholesterol 38.5mg 13% DV; vitamin a iu 10890.6IU 218% DV; vitamin c 13.4mg 22% DV; folate 71mcg 18% DV; calcium 436.5mg 44% DV; iron 3.1mg 17% DV; magnesium 123.7mg 44% DV; potassium 620.4mg 17% DV; sodium 518.8mg 21% DV; thiamin 0.5mg 47% DV.

Reviews (16)

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17 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 6
  • 2 star values: 3
  • 1 star values: 4
Rating: 1 stars
Really blah. Not as cheesy and yummy as I thought it would be. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Creamy! 2 out of 3 thumbs way up in our house! The hubby is very garlic fussy so while he liked it ok he didn't love it. My son and I both loved it! I used regular macaroni partly for my hubby's sake (he's really fussy folks!) and partly because I couldn't find whole wheat elbows. I've not had good results with whole wheat spaghetti or rotini so I have to admit i didn't search very hard for elbows. I will definitely make this again! Pros: I love that this has normal easy to find (mostly) inexpensive ingredients! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Better Baked We love sweet potatoes so decided to give this recipe a try. After transferring to baking dish noticed it was to soupy. I decided to bake the casserole at 350 for 20 minutes. It came out perfect. We are not big mac and cheese eaters however I will make this recipe again. Read More
Rating: 2 stars
Too Sweet My kids liked this dish but it was way too sweet for me and my husband. I even doubled the sharp cheddar as another reviewer suggested. Pros: Creamy Cons: Too Sweet Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Gloopy I was not expecting this to taste like normal macaroni and cheese but I also wasn't expecting it to taste like vomit. This was disgusting. The texture and flavor were both unappetizing. If this is what healthy mac and cheese tastes like then I think I will just stop eating mac and cheese. Pros: Healthy Cons: Disgusting Read More
Rating: 3 stars
A little tweak We make this recipe using squash instead of sweet potato any type of squash works and even though it's sweet I think it's slightly less sweet than with sweet potato. Instead of topping the dish with bread crumbs we top it with some shredded cheddar parmasean and dried herbs. I feel like that really helps make it more savory. With those tweaks this recipe is a real winner for us. Pros: Whole family eats it Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Tasty and works in crockpot This is more involved than boxed mac 'n cheese but well worth a try. I followed other people's advice to use a little more cheese and to add paprika. I doubled the recipe (and using 2 cups shredded cheddar 1/4 cup shredded Colby jack and 1/8 cup Parmesan) mixed all ingredients minus the breadcrumbs and put everything into my crockpot the night before a potluck instead of a baking dish. I cooked on low for 3 hours to heat it up and it came out great. I got many compliments and requests for the recipe. Many people couldn't tell that there were sweet potatoes in it as the garlic and paprika make it savory and not sweet. This is a great way to sneak veggies to non-veggie eaters! Leftovers taste great too! Pros: Healthy Yummy Read More
Rating: 2 stars
Too sweet! I 'm all for adding hidden veggies to family favorites but the sweet potato in this dish added far too much natural sugar. The dish didn't even taste savory in the end. I added Parm to try and balance out the dish but in the end it didn't really taste like mac and cheese. Too bad! Pros: Better for you than traditional mac and cheese Cons: My kids didn't love it Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Cheese lovers couldn't tell the difference I have a family of extreme cheese lovers -- to the point they will get the cheese lovers' pizza and add extra cheese. I didn't have dijon mustard so I used 1 tsp of ground mustard and used white pepper instead of black. It tasted just like the homemade Mornay sauce I make with the butter cream and lots of cheese. My teenager said it was the best mac & cheese he's ever had and he & my daughter ended up fighting over the scraps left in the baking dish. (Dad won when they weren't looking). Definitely will be making again! Pros: Fast healthy huge serving size Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Great wIth a few tweaks We really liked this but I made a few tweaks on the frist try that probably made the difference (judging from some of the reviews). I: used coconut milk instead of cows milk used NY extra-sharp cheddar added an 8-ounce can of diced tomatoes well-drained added 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper reduced the dijon to 2 teaspoons. I also sprinkled the top (on the breadcrumbs) with smoked paprika before broiling. DH sprinkled some hot pepper sauce over his portion and we both enjoyed it very much. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Decent recipe but needs some tweaking I agree with others that this recipe is a little bland and feels a bit heavy. That said my husband picky-eater toddler and I all ate our fill. Plus it was very easy and quick to make. The recipe is a good start; it just needs some help. Somebody suggested tuna and I think that would be a perfect addition. The next time I make it I will try the tuna probably cut the milk by almost half and add a few more peas. I think that will help lighten it up and even out the sweetness with some saltiness from the tuna and texture from the peas. Pros: Quick and easy toddler liked it Cons: A little bland Read More
Rating: 2 stars
Dinner tonight. It was quick to put together although it used too many pots for a weeknight dinner. I found it very bland. Will probably try it again with a few tweaks to try to give it a bit more flavor. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Too sweet I'm really enthusiastic about the concept of converting recipes to improve the nutritional benefit; however not at the cost of taste. This was really far too sweet and the texture too fibrous. I am also doubtful as to how much better this is than my regular Mac and Cheese. Pros: Some healthy ingredients Cons: Taste and texture fall short of the real thing Read More
Rating: 3 stars
good recipe Love this quick recipe I'm a mac & cheese junkie but I rarely eat it since it's so bad for you. This isn't as good as the traditional kind but it's creamy and it has great flavor. I like having the emotional gratification of my normal comfort food without the unhealthy results Pros: quick healthy easy Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Very bland I found this to be a very bland and tasteless meal with quite a lot of work going into it. My husband suggested adding tuna which I think would liven it up a bit! Pros: none Cons: very bland a lot of work Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Sweet Here's the thing about adding sweet potatoes to mac 'n' cheese: you get sweet mac 'n' cheese. Not my thing but YMMV. The colors are pretty and I like the crunch from the peas. Pros: healthful easy fast Cons: sweet Read More