Canada’s food guide

Mac and cheese with a veggie twist

Give mac and cheese a makeover by adding bite-sized vegetables into the creamy sauce. This ooey gooey recipe is sure to be a favourite. Don’t have time to cut the vegetables into small pieces? No worries. Cook larger pieces a bit longer until they are tender.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 375 mL (1 ½ cups) whole grain macaroni or fusilli
  • 10 mL (2 tsp) soft non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) grated zucchini
  • 30 mL (2 tbsp) all purpose flour
  • 500 mL (2 cups) skim milk
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) chopped fresh thyme or 2 mL (1/2 tsp) dried thyme leaves
  • 250 mL (1 cup) shredded light old Cheddar cheese
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) Dijon mustard
  • Pinch fresh ground pepper
  1. In a pot, bring water to boil. Add macaroni and cook for about 6 minutes or until pasta is tender but firm. Drain well and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat margarine over medium heat and cook onion and garlic for 1 minute. Add carrot, red pepper and zucchini and cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour and cook, stirring until flour is absorbed. Slowly pour in milk and stir until smooth. Add thyme. Cook, stirring for about 5 minutes or until starting to bubble. Stir in cheese, mustard and pepper. Remove from heat and stir until melted and smooth. Stir in cooked macaroni until well coated.


  • What kid doesn’t love mac and cheese? Ask your little chef to help grate the cheese using a box grater.
  • Make it yours. Personalize this recipe by switching up the cheese.
  • Here’s how you can use frozen vegetables in this recipe. Leave out the carrots, red pepper and zucchini and substitute 500 mL (2 cups) diced, mixed frozen vegetables in the sauce.
  • Ask your kids to choose what pasta shape they want to use. There are lots to choose from, like penne, scoobi doo, shells and wagon wheels.
  • Try using less of the ingredients that are high in added sodium, sugars or saturated fat. Adding salt or sugars directly to your recipe? Remember, a little often goes a long way.