Whip up this creamy vegetarian mac and cheese for an easy, comforting meal in 30 minutes! It’s loaded with veggies and made with simple ingredients – a no fuss dish that the whole family will love.
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We are officially in the crazy, rush-around-for-a-million-different-things holiday season! And since it’s been unseasonably cold here in Minnesota (and in many parts of the country), I feel like Thanksgiving and Christmas are closer than they actually are.
But regardless of what day of the month it actually is, holiday craziness is upon us. And you know what happens during this super busy time of year?
We get a little too focused on what new side dish we should bring to our aunt’s house for Thanksgiving dinner and a lot less focused on everyday meals. So that’s why I created this easy veggie mac and cheese recipe for you!
Here’s why I think this recipe is going to become your go-to this season (and maybe all throughout the year!):
- It’s made in ONE pot. Buh bye, entire sink of dirty dishes.
- You can customize it with whatever veggies you please!
- It’s MAC AND CHEESE, a.k.a. the great comfort food of America. But you’ll be making it from scratch with fresher ingredients, meaning it’s going to taste better than the boxed stuff we all know and love.
How to Make Vegetarian Mac and Cheese
If you are familiar with my One Pot Mushroom Spaghetti, then you know that making one pot pasta dishes is incredibly easy. However, most people don’t actually know how to do it!
Here are the basic steps for making this veggie mac and cheese (more info in the recipe card below):
- Dice the veggies. Throw them in a large pot with some olive oil and let them cook down for a few minutes.
- Add dry elbow macaroni (you can use whole wheat for added nutrition if desired), milk, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, cover, and then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook until the macaroni is al dente, and be sure to stir it every couple of minutes!
- Remove from heat, stir in the cheese, and add another splash of milk as needed.
What veggies go well with mac and cheese?
For those of you who aren’t the biggest broccoli or carrot fans, feel free to mix and match any veggies on the following list. These ones go great with M&C:
- Bell peppers
- Butternut squash
- Brussels sprouts
Can you make this recipe with frozen vegetables?
Yes! You can use frozen vegetables in veggie mac and cheese. Sautee them in olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients, just as you would do with fresh veggies. Or you can use a mix of frozen and fresh veg.
What is the best cheese for homemade mac and cheese?
The combination of sharp white cheddar and parmesan in this recipe was incredibly delicious. These two cheeses contribute a sharp, slightly aged taste. But you can also use mozzarella, gouda, fontina, gruyere, and even goat cheese.
Tips for Serving and Storing
Veggie mac and cheese is best when eaten right away, but you can store leftovers for 3-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes before eating.
If you make this recipe, be sure to rate and review it using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and don’t forget to follow and tag @its_a_vegworld_afterall on Instagram! Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
One Pot Vegetarian Mac and Cheese
- large pot
- wooden spoon
- cutting board and knife
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion – peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic – pressed or minced
- 3 cups broccoli florets – from ~1 head
- 3 carrots – washed, trimmed, and sliced
- 2 cups elbow macaroni – dried; can use plain or whole wheat
- 1 cup milk – of choice
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese – freshly grated
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese – freshly grated
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, garlic, broccoli florets, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until slightly tender.
- Add the macaroni, milk, and vegetable broth. Increase heat to bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook for ~10 minutes, or until the macaroni is al dente. Be sure to give the pot a good stir every 2-3 minutes to promote cooking.
- While the pasta and veggies are cooking, prepare the grated cheese. Remove the pasta from heat and stir in the cheese. You may want to add another splash of milk if needed. Enjoy!
- Don’t forget to stir the mac and cheese while it’s cooking!
- Substitute other vegetables as desired. You can also use frozen vegetables and cook them in the same way as you would cook the fresh ones in this recipe.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave.
Enjoy your big bowl of veggies (and cheese)!