Sneaky Mac and Cheese

  • 10MINS
  • 20MINS
  • 293KCAL

Packed full of hidden veggies, this dish is a healthy take on a naughty treat! Perfect if you're counting calories or following a plan like Weight Watchers.

  • Batch Cook pinchofnom.com
  • Everyday Light pinchofnom.com
  • Freezable pinchofnom.com
Easy Peasy Sneaky Mac and Cheese pinchofnom.com
4

NutritionPer Serving

  • Calories293
  • Carbs31g
  • Protein19g
  • Fat9.6g
  • Saturates5.4g
  • Sugars7.5g

Sneaky Mac and Cheese - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

For the full list of ingredients and comprehensive instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post. Before you scroll, there’s important stuff to know in the blurb!

This Sneaky Mac and Cheese gets its name from all of the hidden veggies that we’ve packed into it!

Peeled and cubed courgette replaces some of the pasta and cooked cauliflower helps to make the sauce thick and creamy, so that you still get a big, cheesy portion without all of the extra calories and Points.

Our Sneaky Mac and Cheese is a fantastic way to help get your 5 a day and is perfect for kids that aren’t big fans of vegetables – they’ll never notice all the veggie goodness hiding in their dinner!  If you don’t need to be quite so sneaky with your veggies, then why not add some extras like peas and spinach? You could also add some lean ham or chicken to give this dish a meaty twist!

What diets is this Sneaky Mac and Cheese suitable for?

This Sneaky Mac and Cheese is suitable for vegetarian diets (but please double check that your cheese is veggie!).

It can be made suitable for gluten free diets by swapping the following ingredients out for gluten free alternatives;

  • Dried macaroni

Please make sure to double or triple check all of your ingredients if you’re cooking for people with allergies.

How Weight Watchers friendly is this Sneaky Mac and Cheese recipe?

  • You need to count 6 Points per portion of this Sneaky Mac and Cheese recipe if you’re on WW Green.
  • You need to count 6 Points per portion of this Sneaky Mac and Cheese recipe if you’re on WW Blue.
  • You need to count 6 Points per portion of this Sneaky Mac and Cheese recipe if you’re on WW Purple.

Do you need any special ingredients to make this Sneaky Mac and Cheese?

You should be able to find all of the ingredients for this dish in your local supermarket.  If you can’t get your hands on dried macaroni, you can use any other dried pasta instead.

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We recommend using a fine grater like this onefrom Deiss, as it makes your grated cheese feel like it’s going further!

pinch of nom amazon image

You’ll also need a food processor or hand blender to blitz your sauce. We prefer using a hand blender like this one from Amazon.

How many calories are in this Sneaky Mac and Cheese?

There are 293 calories per portion in this Sneaky Mac and Cheese which means it falls into our Everyday Light category. 

This Sneaky Mac and Cheese is perfect if you’re following a calorie controlled diet and fits well with any one of the major diet plans such as Weight Watchers. 

As a guide, an average man needs around 2,500kcal (10,500kJ) a day to maintain a healthy body weight. For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000kcal (8,400kJ) a day. Obviously, if your goal is to lose weight then you might want to adjust these slightly! You can read more about these recommendations on the NHS website.

For the sauce

Step 1

Add the cauliflower to a pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes until soft.

Step 2

Once the cauliflower is cooked, drain the water and add to a blender with the spreadable cheese, onion granules, garlic and mustard (you could also place in a separate bowl and use a hand blender). Blend until smooth and set aside.

Step 2 pinchofnom.com

For the pasta

Step 1

While the cauliflower is cooking, add the pasta to another pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender.

Step 2

Add the courgette to the empty pan that the cauliflower cooked in and spritz with low calorie cooking spray. Gently sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened and cooked through. It should be as soft as the cooked pasta.

Step 2 pinchofnom.com

Step 3

Pour the sauce into the pan with the courgette along with the drained pasta and a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3 pinchofnom.com

Step 4

You can serve the dish like this, or make it extra cheesy by adding to an ovenproof dish and topping with the grated cheddar. Place under the grill for 5 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden and serve with an optional sprinkle of spring onion.

Sneaky Mac and Cheese - Pinch of Nom Slimming Recipes

What could I serve with this Sneaky Mac and Cheese?

This Sneaky Mac and Cheese works really well when served alongside some steamed, green veg or any of the following accompaniments:

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    How do you know when this Sneaky Mac and Cheese is cooked?

    Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet until it is tender.  You’ll need to cook your courgette and cauliflower until soft.

    Standard advice here in the UK is to cook food until it has reached 70°C and stayed at that temperature for 2 minutes. This is to keep your family safe.

    How long can you keep Sneaky Mac and Cheese in the fridge?

    Once you’ve put it out, ideally you should eat it within 4 hours.

    If you allow any leftovers to cool, make sure to refrigerate in a container with a lid and chill.  You can keep leftovers of Sneaky Mac and Cheese in the fridge for approximately 3 days or so.

    Can I freeze Sneaky Mac and Cheese?

    Yes you can! This recipe can be frozen, but please remember to do the following;

    • Freeze it as soon as it is cold enough.
    • Use a container or bag that is suitable for freezing.

    Don’t forget to add a label with what it is, and on what date you put it in the freezer!

    How do I reheat Sneaky Mac and Cheese?

    From chilled: Place in a microwave proof container with loosely fitting lid and heat for 4-7 minutes until piping hot.

    From frozen: Allow to defrost, and heat covered in the microwave for 3-5 minutes then stir. Cook for a further 5-7 minutes until piping hot.

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    Sneaky Mac and Cheese

    Packed full of hidden veggies, this dish is a healthy take on a naughty treat! Perfect if you're counting calories or following a plan like Weight Watchers.
    • Prep Time
      10 MINS
    • Cook Time
      20 MINS
    • KCals 293
    • Carbs 31G
    • WW Points:
    • 6 Green
    • 6 Blue
    • 6 Purple

    Ingredients

    • 400 g cauliflower broken into florets
    • 150 g light spreadable cheese like Primula Light or GoGo
    • 1/2 tsp onion granules
    • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
    • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
    • 200 g dried macaroni or other dried pasta
    • 2 courgettes peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
    • 80 g reduced fat cheddar finely grated
    • low calorie cooking spray
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 chopped spring onion to serve optional

    We use a fan assisted oven for all of our recipes. Check out our oven temperature conversion guide.

    Please do not screenshot this. Recipes are updated often

    Instructions

    For the sauce
    1. Add the cauliflower to a pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes until soft.
    2. Once the cauliflower is cooked, drain the water and add to a blender with the spreadable cheese, onion granules, garlic and mustard (you could also place in a separate bowl and use a hand blender). Blend until smooth and set aside.
    For the pasta
    1. While the cauliflower is cooking, add the pasta to another pan of boiling water and cook for 10 minutes or until tender.
    2. Add the courgette to the empty pan that the cauliflower was cooked in and spritz with low calorie cooking spray. Gently sauté over a medium heat for 5 minutes until softened and cooked through. It should be as soft as the cooked pasta.
    3. Pour the sauce into the pan with the courgette, along with the drained pasta and a few tablespoons of the pasta water. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
    4. You can serve the dish like this, or make it extra cheesy by adding to an ovenproof dish and topping with the grated cheddar. Place under the grill for 5 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden and serve with an optional sprinkle of spring onion.

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    8 comments

    See what others have to say

    Karen SmithSunday 4th October 2020

    Can cream cheese be used in this recipe! This sounds delicious!

    Reply

      HollyFriday 16th October 2020

      Hi Karen, it’s best to use a light spreadable cheese like Primula Light or GoGo but it will still work with light cream cheese!

      Reply

    audreySunday 30th August 2020

    Eeekk I don’t have onion and garlic granules or mustard powder can I use an actual onion and Clove of garlic and mustard? Or a veg stock cube?

    Reply

      LisaMonday 31st August 2020

      Hi Audrey
      We use granules and powder for convenience, as they are cupboard staples that have a long shelf life. You can, of course, swap them for fresh cloves and mustard if you wish. If you want to use an onion, I’d suggest adding it at step 2 along with the courgette. Hope this helps.

      Reply

    Karagh ByeMonday 13th July 2020

    do you have to use courgette for this? I don’t like it can I sub it or just leave it out?

    Reply

      HollyTuesday 14th July 2020

      Hey Karagh, you could leave the courgette out or substitute with another vegetable such as mixed peppers, hope that helps!

      Reply

    Dawn BarrettThursday 11th June 2020

    How many portions does this recipe make please?

    Reply

      SharonThursday 11th June 2020

      Hi Dawn, thanks for getting in touch. The Sneaky Mac and Cheese serves 6.

      Reply

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