I don't think I need to begin this piece by selling you on the deliciousness of mac n' cheese. Much like pizza, it's one of those universal guilty food pleasures that's either entirely forbidden by dieters or leaves its casualties feeling some combination of a terrible stomach ache and regretful.
During the most recent NYC snowstorm, I decided to embark on the task of healthifying mac n' cheese. Let's just say the final product is stomach-ache-free and for lack of a better phrase, really, really good. First and foremost, I swapped traditional refined pasta for chickpea elbows from Banza. Talk about an easy way to score protein and fiber. Next, I added some shaved Brussels sprouts. Eating healthy isn't just about what you should eliminate, but rather, what you can enjoy. Sometimes it feels like we're so focused on what we should avoid that we forget to shed light on all of the awesome foods we should incorporate.
As for the cheese, I added a mix of shredded part-skim mozzarella and sharp cheddar. Cheese often gets a pretty bad rep, but if you're not avoiding dairy and you're not lactose intolerant, it's actually a good source of protein and calcium.
So there you have it. Banza elbows + Brussels sprouts + shredded cheese. Nothing more, nothing less. Enjoy!
Ingredients (serves ~5):
- 1 1/4 cup dry Banza elbows
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup shredded Brussels sprouts
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Follow instructions for boiling water and preparing Banza elbows. While elbows are cooking, heat shredded Brussels sprouts on stove pan over medium heat for ~5-8 minutes. No oil or cooking spray necessary. Brussels sprouts should begin to brown.
- Drain water from elbows and place in baking pan. Mix in Brussels sprouts and cheese. Mix contents in baking pan until they appear evenly distributed.
- Place baking pan in oven for about 10 minutes, until cheese is visibly melted.