Childhood favorites are hard to beat but how ‘bout we take it up a notch?  Here’s a mac and cheese you can really sink your teeth into that’s packed with vegetables and black beans for a hearty, protein-packed meal.

Every now and then I get a hankering to make mac and cheese.  It’s always been a family favorite and one I can count on everyone will like. Is it a grown-up version of mac and cheese?  Maybe but I do think kids will love it too. I’ve made several tweaks to this recipe but it still stays true to what we think of as “mac and cheese” but with a twist of additional flavors to really savor.

This mac and cheese does it all – combines chewy pasta and creamy cheese with the veggies and beans added in.  All you have to do to is pick out a favorite fruit and your complete meal is done.  Quick, convenient, and tasty, plus you can dine on this for lunch or dinner several days in a row.  So good and so good for you!

Note: This recipe can be tweaked to suit your tastes.  Other veggies such as peas, diced red pepper, different beans, different cheese, lentils, or even cubed sweet potatoes can be great additions.  Make it your own!

Photo taken by Cheryl Mussatto

Veggie Black Bean Mac and Cheese – serves 6-8

2 cups uncooked pasta (your choice) – I used cavatappi

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables

1-2 cups chopped fresh spinach

2 tablespoon flour

1 ½ cups milk

2 cups cheddar cheese

1/2 cup black beans

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon dry mustard powder

Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large saute pan. Add garlic and vegetables and saute for 10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle vegetables with flour
  4. Drain pasta when done cooking; in the same large pan, add in milk and cheese, heat over low heat stirring until cheese is melted.
  5. Add paprika and dry mustard to milk/cheese mixture, stirring well.
  6. To the milk/cheese mixture, stir in pasta, vegetables, and black beans combining well. Heat all ingredients together and serve warm. Top with Parmesan cheese if you like.
Categories: Recipes

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Cheryl Mussatto

Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in Dietetics and Institutional Management from Kansas State University. She is a clinical dietitian for Cotton O’Neil Clinics in Topeka and Osage City; an adjunct professor for Allen Community College, Burlingame, KS where she teaches Basic Nutrition; and is a freelance writer and blog contributor for Dr. David Samadi, Urologic Oncologist Expert and World Renowned Robotic Surgeon in New York City. Cheryl is also the author of The Nourished Brain, The Latest Science on Food’s Power for Protecting the Brain from Alzheimers and Dementia, found on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback editions.

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