I’m not a big fan of carrots on their own, but I know they’re good for me, so I like recipes that kind of sneak them in. But in this carrot mac and cheese dish—my riff on this recipe on Leite’s Culinaria from cookbook author Melissa Clark—the carrots aren’t just for stealth nutrients; they actually add to the macaroni’s creaminess and flavor (while helping cut down on calories by replacing some of the cheese).
I left out the sour cream, eggs and butter from Clark’s recipe (I wasn’t about to attempt vegan mac’n cheese, but I like to cut down on unnecessary dairy and eggs). I also added scallions, for flavor, and ground flaxseed, because that’s another nutrient-filled (but basically tasteless) food I like to sneak into things—though the dish will do fine without either. The result is a rich, creamy and nutrient-dense casserole that you can whip up a big, warm dish of on cold nights—a kinder, healthier comfort food.
Baked Carrot Mac and Cheese
2 cups whole-grain macaroni, cooked
2-3 cups carrot, finely grated or roughly pureed
2-3 cups grated cheddar cheese
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup milk (dairy or unsweetened dairy substitute, like rice milk)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/2 tbsp mustard powder
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Combine cooked, drained macaroni with finely grated or pureed carrots.
3. Stir in cheese, olive oil, milk. Then add scallions, flaxseed, mustard powder, salt and pepper.
4. Pour mix in lightly oiled baking dish. You could sprinkle the top with more cheddar cheese, a little parmesan bread crumbs or raw sunflower seeds.
5. Cook for 20-30 minutes, until it’s lightly browned.