This healthier version of a family favorite is hearty and so comforting. Broccoli mac and cheese is quick and easy to make for weeknight meal
This Broccoli Mac and Cheese recipe post is sponsored by Danish Creamery. As always, all opinions are my own.
Here’s a version of mac and cheese that celebrates more vegetables – broccoli mac and cheese! It’s made with the same cheesy goodness and rich creamy sauce, but also packs in some nutrient-dense broccoli florets. The cheddar in the sauce mixed with broccoli and pasta makes it irresistible for kids and grown-ups alike!
Ingredients to make broccoli mac and cheese
- Pasta: Opt for short cut pasta like elbow, mini shells or cavatappi. The short kinds will help make sure each bite is filled with the cheese sauce.
- Shredded cheese: This is really the star of mac and cheese recipes, so I recommend selecting high quality cheese by the block and selecting two varieties if possible. Consider taste and melt-fact. I selected cheddar and gruyere – my two favorites for mac and cheese!
- Butter: Butter is an essential ingredient to make the roux for the mac and cheese. I use Danish Creamery Butter – which is made from a high quality cream from pasture-raised cows. It has 85% butterfat, which means it will make the sauce extra creamy and velvety!
- Milk & flour: They’re used along with the butter to make the roux that is the base for the sauce.
- Seasoning: I keep it simple with some dijon mustard, salt and pepper. You can also add garlic powder and nutmeg if you’d like.
- Broccoli: Cut them into small florets and add as much or as little as you’d like to the recipe. I think 3 cups works well for 8 ounces of pasta.
How to make broccoli mac and cheese
- Start by making the roux, which is simply made by melting the Danish Creamery butter first, adding the flour and then whisking in the milk.
- Add your grated cheese on top of the roux to make the cheese sauce.
- Stir it in along with any seasoning you’re using. This is where I add the salt, pepper and Dijon mustard.
- Add the cooked pasta on top of the cheese sauce.
- Stir the pasta to combine.
- Add the cooked and blanched broccoli on top and stir just for an extra minute to warm up the broccoli.
Tips for making broccoli mac and cheese
- Select a short cut pasta like elbow macaroni or mini shells for best results. You want to make sure it’s small and has lots of surface area to be fully covered with the cheese sauce.
- Cook the pasta al dente. That’s because you’ll be adding the pasta to the cheesy sauce and stirring for a couple minutes with the broccoli to incorporate everything together. If the pasta is fully cooked, it may end up becoming mushy as you continue warming it up in the saucepan.
- Buy cheese blocks instead of pre-shredded cheese. I recommend buying the block because not only is it cheaper to grate your own cheese, but it also creates a meltier consistency that doesn’t look grainy when mixed in.
- Use warm milk to make the sauce. You can warm it in the microwave or on the stovetop. Pouring warm milk into the roux will help make the sauce faster and prevent a lumpy cheese sauce.
Frequently asked questions
You can technically enjoy this vegetarian recipe for up to 4-5 days. However, it’s best eaten the same day you make it for the best texture and consistency.
I wouldn’t recommend freezing pasta because it will absorb a lot of moisture and get soggy when thawed. It’s best to enjoy them within a couple days of making or bake them into bites as a fun appetizer!
There’s really nothing quite more comforting than a bowl of mac and cheese. And it all starts with high quality butter from Danish Creamery made from humanely raised cows
More mac and cheese recipes
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Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta al dente according to package instructions. Steam the broccoli on top of the pasta pot for 1-2 minutes, if possible. Drain the pasta well and blanch the broccoli.
- In another large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter, then add the flour to make the roux. Whisk the flour and butter until they are combined and golden, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the Dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer, occasionally whisking until sauce is thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the cheese, then fold in the pasta and broccoli. Serve immediately
- Use other types of shredded cheeses if you’d prefer.
- Instead of milk, you can use dairy-free milk like unsweetened almond milk.
- Instead of butter, you can use olive oil
- To make it gluten-free, you can use almond flour or a GF 1:1 mix. Here’s an excellent post on how to make gluten-free roux. You can also make this with gluten-free pasta.