Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe- A not so skinny version

by on August 22, 2012

Aside from a bowl of hot, brothy noodles, no other dish comforts me more than a bowl of mac and cheese.   Since I developed my one pot stove top mac and cheese recipe, I’ve made it easier to stuff my face silly with cheesy-happiness. But to alleviate some of the calorie guilt of inhaling 3 bowls, I think of greens.

Oh yes, broccoli-greens-healthier-better-eat more. This sounds like a rational formula to eating Mac and cheese a few times a week. I love giving myself excuses for eating more by adding something, anything and always green. And green has always been one of my favorite colors as a kid so all this makes sense!

Feeling so inspired, I googled to find a broccoli mac and cheese recipe. Lo and behold, I found one titled “skinny baked broccoli mac and cheese ” by skinny taste.

A skinny mac and cheese recipe by a skinny girl? Oh yes, I’m all for it. I feel healthier already. Gina’s recipe looked amazing with the chicken broth for less fat and lots of flavor. I’m loving it so much, I feel like I can run 4 laps around the track now.

Off I go into my kitchen make an inspired skinny mac an cheese. As I assemble my ingredients I notice I already lost the skinny battle.

Per Gina’s recipe, I don’t have any fat free chicken broth. Ok, so my version will be a little less skinny.

Oh wait, I don’t have skim milk. Maybe my version won’t be so skinny.

And I used more Parmesan cheese cause my brain doesn’t comprehend anything below one cup of Parmesan cheese. Now, let’s just forget the skinny.

Fine, alright, ok. My version isn’t so skinny anymore but it’s darn delicious and it’s got extra broccoli in it! Gina’s recipe is wonderful and for those of you who have a healthier stocked kitchen than I do, then her Skinny Mac and Cheese is for you.

For the rest of you, here’s my Not So Skinny broccoli Mac and cheese recipe.

Broccoli power,


cook mac pasta a little firm, al dente so that after baking, the texture is perfect

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe

Yield: Serves 4-6

Total Time: 1 hour

Adapted from Gina's Skinny Broccoli Mac and Cheese. I used more parmesan cheese because I just love it to death. Try cooking the pasta a little al dente (firm) so that after baking in the oven, the pasta becomes the perfect bite and texture.


  • 1 16 oz package large elbow macaroni, cooked to pkg. instructions, but leaving them a little firm
  • 2 medium heads fresh broccoli (14-16oz), but in small bite size pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • about 1/2 cup of extra cheese for topping
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • kosher or sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large pot, boil water and cook pasta to instructions, but leaving pasta a little al dente. About 3 minutes before draining pasta, add broccoli to cook in water alongside pasta. I like my broccoli a little firm, so that it doesn't end up mushy after the bake. You can decide how cooked you want your broccoli by adding it in sooner.
  2. Grease a large 9 x 12 baking dish.
  3. While pasta is cooking prepare the cheese and milk mixture. In large pot on medium heat, add butter and onion. Cook onions till soft, then add flour. Stir flour quickly to combine the flour and onion rue mixture. Add milk and chicken broth.
  4. Allow mixture to come to a boil and sauce will thicken. Remove from heat and add cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain your cooked pasta and broccoli and add to cheese mixture. Gently mix together and pour into baking dish. Add extra cheese and bread crumbs on top.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted with a nice crust.
Recipe Source:

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 pam August 22, 2012 at 8:09 am

All of my versions on not so skinny, I don’t keep anything low fat in my kitchen!


2 Olga @ MangoTomato August 22, 2012 at 8:17 am

HILARIOUS post! I probably would end up making the same changes you did. And that’s one of the reasons I’m not skinny :)


3 Sarah from 20something cupcakes August 22, 2012 at 8:39 am

I love it! And don’t worry, your broccoli adds plenty of skinny-ness. :)


4 gina @ skinnytaste August 22, 2012 at 8:54 am

LOL! Yours of course looks much prettier than mine but no worries, at least it has vegetables in it! So flattered you used my recipe!!


5 White on Rice Couple August 22, 2012 at 9:06 am

Gina- thank you, always, for the healthy inspiration. xoxo -d


6 Cassie @ Bake Your Day August 22, 2012 at 8:59 am

Mac & cheese is definitely one of my ultimate comfort foods. This is beautiful!!


7 Marie Bernadette August 22, 2012 at 9:01 am

I make a similar half-skinny dish, haha, adapted from Gina’s! I use 1% milk because it’s the only kind I buy, and my chicken brother is made from a bouillion cube, so that’s pretty fat free… I think….

Either way – add broccoli, PRESTO CHANGE-O, healthy! Right? Right. :)


8 White on Rice Couple August 22, 2012 at 9:08 am

Marie- right, right, right. Here’s the math equation: broccoli + green + cheese = happy. ;)


9 JulieD August 22, 2012 at 9:04 am

My favorite mac & cheese I have ever had was in Portland and they used both sharp cheddar & parm. I love that you tried to make it skinny and then veered off course…I would be the same way. :)


10 Averie @ Averie Cooks August 22, 2012 at 10:16 am

I love that it’s a not-so-skinny version. Mac n cheese is one of those foods to just relish in all it’s glory some times :) Same goes with brownies and chocolate cake for me :)


11 Emily August 22, 2012 at 10:23 am

If you’re going to eat mac and cheese, EAT mac and cheese. Who wants a skinny version? I mean, really.


12 Marina@Picnic at Marina August 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Nice post and beautiful photos…
When it comes to real food, I want the real food (no offence to anyone), including mac and cheese. :) And then I run extra couple of miles: balance! :)


13 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar August 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hahaha I like this not-so-skinny version. The more parmesan the better!


14 Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking August 23, 2012 at 7:26 am

With some things, like Mac N Cheese, you gotta go with the non-skinny version!


15 Marian (Sweetopia) August 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

Looks darn delicious! Worth it in my book! :)


16 Samantha C. August 23, 2012 at 8:28 am

This recipe looks just absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it!


17 LiztheChef August 23, 2012 at 10:34 am

If I’m going to make mac and cheese, I throw caution – and calories – to the wind.


18 Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes August 23, 2012 at 5:44 pm

This is probably the only way to get me to eat broccoli – mix it in with my favorite food – mac and cheese!!! Looks delish…


19 Shut Up & Cook August 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Sometimes you need to screw skinny and just do plain ‘ol delicious.

Sounds like perhaps this can do both!



20 Gerry @ Foodness Gracious August 23, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Aww, you tried and that’s what counts! Whatever you do don’t look at the version I have in my index..It’s from Pioneer Woman and it is sooo not skinny. But it’s ridiculously tasty!!


21 Bunkycooks August 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

As I always say, you only live once, so enjoy good food while you can. The problem is, that seems to happen every day! ;-) Happy weekend!


22 Esther August 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Looks fab! We all need a treat some days!


23 Diane, A Broad August 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I agree, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food — to the point where, in a rare spate of homesickness, my boyfriend asked me to go to one of the expat stores here in Paris to pick up a few blue boxes and wieners for dinner. This sounds much more up my alley!


24 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker August 26, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Love this! As a kid, the only way I would eat broccoli was if it was covered in Cheez Whiz ;-)


25 White on Rice Couple August 26, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Michelle- Do you still eat your broccoli with cheez whiz? ;) and thank you for adding us to your weekend list. xoxo


26 Ruth August 27, 2012 at 4:53 am

I love this version of mac n cheese and what I love the most is the shades of “skinny” we can each achieve. I’d love to have you share some of your pasta treats with Presto Pasta Night Roundups


27 4virtu October 2, 2012 at 9:35 am

Happy Tasty Tuesday! We love this recipe and it is featured on our Recipes for the Food Holidays of October! Thanks for sharing!


28 beastmomma October 6, 2012 at 9:28 am

I made this for dinner last night and it was fantastic! I added some more bread crumbs on top, used vegetable broth (since we are vegetarian), and a combination of low fat/whole milk. We all really enjoyed. Thanks!


29 ikiikidahabes December 24, 2012 at 2:29 am

i’ve been searching online for ways to get my two year old to eat broccoli. i happily stumbled upon your recipe today. i knew he wouldn’t eat the broccoli in big pieces so i minced the broccoli and added it with the onion, and did everything else as described, minus the chicken broth. his face is practically in the bowl as i’m typing away :) i personally loved the extra crunch from the bread crumbs. thank you and gina for this recipe.


30 Angie April 4, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Oh My! I just finished Making this, halved the recepie but instead used colliflower and did everything as you described, after a bowl of this i can say i am hooked and will be making many more batches!

Thank You for posting this!


31 Nato November 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

We couldn’t stop eating. This is the best thing İ’ve made in a looong time.


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