Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe- A not so skinny version

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.
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. John Tellson

    I substituted peas instead of broccoli and added ham, also added celery to the rue mixture, came out delicious

    1. Todd & Diane

      That’s awesome with peas and ham. Love it!

  2. irini

    I think you could just add chopped broccoli to your stovetop mac and cheese 🙂 simple and fewer steps hehe

  3. Nato

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

  4. Angie

    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!

  5. ikiikidahabes

    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.

  6. beastmomma

    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!

  7. 4virtu

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

  8. Ruth

    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

  9. Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker

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

    1. White on Rice Couple

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

  10. Diane, A Broad

    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!

  11. Esther

    Looks fab! We all need a treat some days!

  12. Bunkycooks

    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!

  13. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    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!!

  14. Shut Up & Cook

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

    Sounds like perhaps this can do both!


  15. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes

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

  16. LiztheChef

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

  17. Samantha C.

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

  18. Marian (Sweetopia)

    Looks darn delicious! Worth it in my book! 🙂

  19. Stefanie @ Sarcastic Cooking

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

  20. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

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

  21. Marina@Picnic at Marina

    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! 🙂

  22. Emily

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

  23. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    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 🙂

  24. JulieD

    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. 🙂

  25. Marie Bernadette

    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. 🙂

    1. White on Rice Couple

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

  26. Cassie @ Bake Your Day

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

  27. gina @ skinnytaste

    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!!

    1. White on Rice Couple

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

  28. Sarah from 20something cupcakes

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

  29. Olga @ MangoTomato

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

  30. pam

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

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