This Gluten Free Hidden Veggie Mac & Cheese with Pecan Breadcrumbs is my favorite mac and cheese to date, and I’m a mac and cheese fan! It is hearty, creamy, and comforting. Absolutely nobody will be able to tell that you snuck cauliflower and butternut squash into the sauce of this fabulous mac and cheese! Adult and kid-friendly, and so delicious! Made in partnership with the American Pecan Council.
This dish is the perfect alternative to conventional Mac & Cheese! Sneak those veggies into the creamy, cheesy sauce (bonus if you add in the broccoli) for the perfect comfort food, made more wholesome!
I am so excited to partner with the American Pecan Council for today’s post. I love swapping out traditional breadcrumbs for these, heart healthy, spiced pecan breadcrumbs! They are the perfect, nutritious topper to this unique mac & cheese pasta dish!
A handful of pecans is a good source of fiber, thiamin, and zinc, and an excellent source of copper and manganese – a mineral that’s essential for metabolism and bone health. Pecans have power-packed protein-packed and in every 1-ounce serving you’ll get 12 grams ofa good source of “good” monounsaturated fat, with zero cholesterol or sodium, making this dish even more nutritious!
This dish is made with gluten-free pasta, and the breadcrumb alternative that can also be used to bread chicken or fish! Pour on that creamy cheese sauce, mix it all together, top with fresh cheese, and then BAKE! Then add those spiced pecan breadcrumbs. SO GOOD.
Use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this dish work for anybody’s dietary restrictions. The breadcrumbs would be great on top of baked fish, roasted veggies, as a breadcrumb mixture for eggplant parmesan, stuffed peppers, on a salad, and so many other fabulous dishes!
Sneaky Veggie Gluten Free Mac & Cheese with Pecan Croutons
Creamy Cheese Sauce
- 1 16-ounce package of gluten-free pasta, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 cups broccoli florets, steamed (see notes)
- 1/3 cup additional cheese, for topping
- Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in butternut squash, cauliflower, sea salt, black pepper, and cinnamon. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Pour in vegetable broth and cover the skillet. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Blend butternut squash, cauliflower, cheeses, non-dairy milk, and dijon mustard in a high-speed blender. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
- Place pasta and steamed broccoli in a large mixing bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of sauce at a time over pasta and broccoli until the pasta is well coated and saucy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Pour Mac & Cheese into a baking dish. Top with the additional cheddar and parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheese is melted.
- While the Mac & Cheese is baking, make the pecan breadcrumbs: Pulse pecans in a food processor until a sand-like consistency is achieved. Mix in optional spices if using.
- Once the Mac & Cheese is done, sprinkle with pecan breadcrumbs and broil on low for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!
- You can omit the cayenne, chili powder, and garlic powder in the pecan topping if desired!
- The cheese sauce yields 4 cups. You might have about 1 cup leftover depending on how cheesy you like your mac & cheese! Store the leftover cheese sauce in your fridge for up to one-week.
- Steam broccoli: Cut broccoli into 2-inch florets. In a steamer insert over a pot of boiling water, steam broccoli, covered, until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
This post is sponsored by the American Pecan Council. All thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own! I love pecans and the farmers who grow them! Thank you for continuing to support LCK and the brands I work with!