Skillet Mac & Cheese with Zucchini & Pimiento


Sweet and mild pimiento peppers add a little zest to this skillet mac and cheese, while zucchini boosts the veggie count. Here we boil the pasta a little less than usual, until just shy of al dente, so it doesn't overcook in the oven.

Zucchini-Pimiento Skillet Mac & Cheese
Photo: Jacob Fox
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 3 cups diced zucchini and/or summer squash

  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided

  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups low-fat milk

  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard

  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1 4-ounce jar diced pimientos (see Tip), rinsed

  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole-wheat

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

  2. Cook macaroni 1 minute less than the package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add zucchini (and/or summer squash) and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  4. Reduce heat to medium and melt butter in the skillet. Sprinkle with flour and whisk until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk milk, dry mustard, cayenne and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour the milk mixture into the skillet, whisking constantly. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and pimientos. Using a slotted spoon, add the reserved vegetables to the skillet along with the pasta. Stir to coat.

  6. Mix panko, garlic powder and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the casserole. Transfer to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is golden, about 15 minutes.


Small pimiento peppers are sometimes dried and ground to make paprika. Find jars of them near the pickles and olives at the grocery store.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

425 Calories
17g Fat
32g Carbs
35g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 425
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 8g 29%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 35g 70%
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 66mg 22%
Vitamin A 1998IU 40%
Sodium 371mg 16%
Potassium 675mg 14%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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