recipe rehab: awesome healthy “mac and cheese” (great for super bowl sunday!)

butternut sqash mac and cheese

So who doesn’t love mac and cheese? And imagine it being good for you??? 


Chai mommas recently started talking to Better Eats– the makers of the hit ABC TV series Recipe Rehab- which are episodes focused on ways to prepare the foods that we all love to indulge on much healthier.

They asked us to try their recipes out so I picked one I thought I’d make for my husband and my sister.

It was titled “Chef Mareya Ibrahim’s Non-Traditional Mac and Cheese”. 

By the way- since it is just around the corner, this is a perfect Superbowl Sunday dish to accompany the buffalo wings and other snacks- especially for the vegetarians!

If anyone knows my sister- she is definitely a critic of macaroni and cheese- it’s one of her fave foods. But since she started avoiding most dairy, (especially cow), and cutting out most gluten, it’s one of the dishes she can’t always enjoy heaping spoonfuls of anymore. This recipe was perfect for her. It called for brown rice gluten free macaroni elbows and dairy free cheese, (I used Daiya cheddar cheese shreds-it’s made of things like tapioca flour, pea protein and coconut oil- and melts great unlike a lot of soy based cheese out there), plus the best part and secret weapon of the whole recipe: butternut squash as the “cheese sauce”. Check out the easy to follow, quick and simple video of recipe instructions:

Some of my own additions/changes:recipe rehab dinner

  • I used Daiya cheese instead of soy cheese.
  • I used feta cheese instead of goat cheese since my husband doesn’t like goat cheese, (the feta was yummy, but I myself love goat cheese so I am sure it tastes great with it).
  • For the topping, I used panko bread crumbs instead of pretzel crumbs and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese. (here’s some info on nutritional yeast).
  • I flash broiled the pan when it was done baking: on the top rack for about a minute- gave it that perfect bubbly crunch.
  • I added oregano to the spices she mentions at the end of the video.
  • I added tomoatoes on top before baking/broiling.
  • I served it with a side of sautéed garlic green beans with a little sprinkle of parmesan on them.
  • We had hot sauce on the table since even with the cayenne pepper she adds on top at the end, we like a lil’ extra kick. Next time,  I think I’ll top it with sliced jalepeno peppers 😉 And of course, if you are serving to kids, you can customize it to whatever spice level you desire.

My sister and husband loved it-thanks Chef Mareya! Let me know how you like it! Do you have any other ideas on non-traditional mac and cheese? Would love to hear -just comment below. Enjoy!


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