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Broccoli—just like pasta—makes a tasty pairing with sharp Cheddar. Here, we've combined all three ingredients in a homey casserole that's baked in a cast-iron skillet. Replacing some of the pasta in the dish with vegetables makes it more nutritious and helps you cut down on carbs.

EatingWell.com, June 2021


Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

45 mins
30 mins

Here's how we made over this recipe to be healthy and diabetes-friendly:

1. We swap out some of the pasta for broccoli, but do it in the easiest way possible. Instead of steaming or roasting the broccoli separately, we cook it in the same boiling water with the pasta, so you don't have to bother with an extra pot or pan. And because the broccoli simply slips into the cooking water for the last minute of cooking, you don't have to worry about timing either. This results in a dish with fewer carbs and more fiber with very little extra effort.

2. We use low-fat milk as the base of the cheese sauce. Opting for low-fat milk over whole milk means less saturated fat, but still results in a super-creamy mac and cheese. We also use just a small amount of butter to whisk together a roux, which helps keep the cheese sauce thick and creamy without adding too much saturated fat overall.

3. We opt for sharp Cheddar cheese for its bold flavor, and shred it to help it melt to perfection. Sharp Cheddar provides a more intense flavor than mild Cheddar, which allows you to use slightly less cheese overall. But because sharp cheeses are aged longer, they don't melt as easily, so shredding the cheese helps get that creamy texture.

Having diabetes doesn't mean you have to give up all of your favorite foods. You just need the know-how (and easy cooking tips) to make better choices. In Make Over My Recipe, a fun cooking show geared toward beginner cooks, Mila Clarke Buckley takes classics like mac and cheese, meatloaf, brownies and more comfort foods and uses simple tricks to make them healthier—but just as delicious as ever.


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.

  • Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions, adding broccoli for the last minute of cooking. Drain.

  • Wipe the pot dry and place over medium-low heat. Add butter and swirl until melted. Sprinkle flour over the butter; whisk until smooth. Slowly add milk, salt and smoked paprika; cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup Cheddar and Parmesan. Add the drained pasta and broccoli, stirring to coat well.

  • Transfer the mixture to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and sprinkle with panko and the remaining 3 tablespoons Cheddar. Bake until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

generous 1 cup
363 calories; fat 14g; cholesterol 38mg; sodium 483mg; carbohydrates 46g; dietary fiber 6g; protein 17g; sugars 6g; niacin equivalents 5mg; saturated fat 8g; vitamin a iu 2074IU; potassium 495mg.