Healthy Recipes

Meatless Monday Recipe: Heavenly Mac 'n' Cheese

Rosemary, thyme, asparagus, and shiitake mushrooms add sophisticated flavor and tone down the richness of this super-cheesy macaroni, made with whole wheat pasta.

Meatless Monday Recipe: Heavenly Mac 'n' Cheese
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1½ cups asparagus, cut into 1-inch chunks
8 ounces whole wheat macaroni elbows
1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1½ cups 1 percent milk fat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup shallots
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup 50 percent reduced-fat white cheddar
¼ cup fontina cheese
¼ cup Gruyère cheese
2 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus 1 minute, then remove and drop into bowl of ice water, reserving boiling water for pasta. Cook pasta according to box directions. Meanwhile, coat a medium skillet with cooking spray and sauté mushrooms over mediumlow heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Drain pasta and asparagus and set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Blend cottage cheese in food processor until smooth; set aside. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat; sauté shallots, garlic, and herb sprigs, about 4 minutes. Add wine and sauté 2 more minutes. Remove herbs and garlic, and gradually whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in milk, then cottage cheese and mustard, and simmer over low heat, continually stirring for 15 minutes until thick. Turn off heat. Slowly incorporate cheeses until melted.

  3. In a large bowl, combine cheese sauce, pasta, asparagus, and mushrooms. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle bread crumbs and Parmesan on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Serve immediately with a side salad.

Nutritional facts: 

Per serving: 485 calories, 12 g fat (7 g saturated), 66 g carbohydrates, 34 g protein, 7 g fiber, 820 mg sodium (33% Daily Value).