A childhood favorite kicked up a notch! This Lentil Macaroni and Cheese is packed with vegetables and lentils for a hearty vegetarian meal.
Time for another second-look recipe. This Lentil Macaroni and Cheese is one of my absolute favorites. I first shared it on the blog back in 2012 and I’ve probably made it 100 times since then. What can I say? I love mac and cheese. Always have. Always will. Plain old mac and cheese will probably always be my favorite, but to make it a more complete meal, I’ve added lots of veggies and some extra protein to this version. I can easily make a batch and eat it for lunch or dinner several days in a row. So good.
I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and took some new pics so I thought I’d share it again! The best part about it is that it’s a very forgiving recipe so you can really vary it based on what veggies you have on hand, add extra cheese or a different kind if you want (I’ve been known to throw in some goat cheese!), throw in some meat or beans instead of or in addition to the lentils, etc.
Here’s how you make it.
- 1 cup pasta, uncooked
- ¾ cup lentils, uncooked
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-4 cups mixed vegetables, diced (fresh, frozen or combination)
- 5 oz frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed to remove excess moisture (or 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach)
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1.5 cups milk
- 5 oz cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper, optional
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Cook lentils according to package directions.
- While pasta and lentils are cooking, melt butter in a large saute pan. Add garlic and vegetables and saute for 10 minutes.
- Sprinkle vegetables with flour.
- Add milk and cheese and stir until well combined.
- Stir in cooked pasta and lentils, add spices and serve warm.
I usually make it with fresh spinach and think I like it slightly better that way, but frozen was all I had on hand this time and it worked just as well! If you don’t like spinach, leave it out all together. For veggies, I usually use fresh red peppers and onions and then add a couple cups of frozen mixed veggies. Broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, etc are all great options. I’ve also added sweet potatoes.
If you’re feeling adventurous, check out my How To Sprout Lentils post and use those when you make it! If you don’t like lentils, sub your favorite protein – it’s a great way to use up leftover chicken or pork and I often add chicken sausage when I make it!
You get the idea. As you can see, this is just a base recipe. Put your own twist on it!