Decadent Green Mac-n-Cheese (avocado/broccoli based)

By Danielle Shea-Tan, MS, CHHC
Functional Family Nutritionist

Move over green juice, there’s a new favorite in town. Green Mac-n-Cheese is taking over the dinner table by storm!

Traditional homemade mac-n-cheese is creamy, comforting and oh so yummy, but it may leave your family feeling sluggish and sleepy. Mixing up your mac-n-cheese occasions with this recipe will keep your family and their bodies happy and begging for more! Danielle’s recipe features a new way to use broccoli and is loaded with heart-healthy fats from avocado and olive oil. Many people are unaware that broccoli offers much more than just fiber and vitamin K; these cruciferous florets contain protein, a healthy dose of vitamin A, C, Folate and are considered a good source of several minerals. Mix the creamy green sauce into lentil pasta for a high protein meal or use zucchini noodles for a lighter version.

Decadent Green Mac-n-Cheese (avocado/broccoli based)

Yields

3.5 - 4 cups

Cook Time

7-9 minutes

Total Time

20 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 avocado pitted
  • 1 1/2 C broccoli
  • 1 basil or flat leaf parsley, or 1 C
  • 3-4 garlic
  • 1/2 C pine nuts (replace with ½ cup avocado for nut allergy)
  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ Tsp. Celtic sea salt
  • Black Pepper to desired taste
  • 2 cups your favorite nutrient-dense noodle such as zucchini noodles or lentil pasta 
Optional

Allergens: pine nuts

Directions
  1. Rinse, chop & steam broccoli until fork tender (approximately 6-8 minutes). 
  2. Prepare lentil pasta as directed or saute zucchini noodles in olive oil until tender. 
  3. In a food processor, blend avocado, steamed broccoli, basil (or parsley), garlic, olive oil and pine nuts. Puree until smooth. Remove ¼ cup portion for baby. 
  4. Add salt and lemon juice and puree again. Taste and adjust flavors as desired with additional sea salt, pepper or lemon juice - be sure to add in small increments. 
  5. In large bowl, mix noodles & creamy green sauce. Serve warm!

For the ages

For Babies: BLW

This creamy dish provides your baby with a new way to enjoy brain boosting foods like broccoli and avocado!

Portion Size:

1 - 2 tablespoons

Ingredients:

creamy green “cheese” sauce, lentil pasta

Serving Tip(s):

 You can serve this dish two different ways for your baby to enjoy! Use the mini mat to serve the green sauce as a “dip” alongside large lentil pasta shapes such as fusilli. Or, toss some pasta in green sauce to coat it and then serve a few pieces of plain lentil pasta and “green cheesy” pasta in a tiny mat. Let baby eat as much or as little as she wants. Remember this is a new flavor combination so if baby doesn’t take to it today, she may love it tomorrow! 

For Babies: Traditional

Your little eater doesn’t need the “mac” in this vegan mac-n-cheese dish. Serve this bold green sauce solo or alongside your favorite pureed protein.

Portion Size:

1 - 2 tablespoons

Ingredients:

creamy green “cheese” sauce

Serving Tip(s):

The creamy texture of this green cheese sauce might be just right for your baby. If she is not yet ready for thicker purees, use a blender and your preferred liquid such as breast milk or water to thin the mixture as needed. Serve in a tiny bowl. 

For Toddlers

 Families and little ones have also nicknamed this dish “hulk” mac-n-cheese!

Portion Size:

2 - 4 tablespoons

Ingredients:

creamy green “cheese” sauce, salt, lemon, lentil pasta

Serving Tip(s):

Prepare green sauce with salt and lemon as instructed in the directions. Then,  have fun serving this dish multiple ways for your toddler to test drive. Toss some lentil pasta in the creamy green sauce while also keeping some lentil pasta plain without the  sauce. In the happy mat, serve pasta and green sauce in one section, plain pasta in another section and green sauce by itself “for dipping” in the third section. Let your toddler eat as little or as much as he wants of any food format. 

For Grown-Ups

A creamy mac-n-cheese you can enjoy without any guilt!

Portion Size:

1 - 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

creamy green sauce, salt, lemon, lentil pasta

Serving Tip(s):

 Prepare the green sauce with salt and lemon as instructed. Toss with lentil pasta and serve warm. Add salt to taste as needed.

Happy Eating!

Danielle Shea-Tan, MS, CHHC

Functional Family Nutritionist

Danielle is passionate about helping families ditch processed foods and start making real, wholesome food that is both simple and delicious. She blows our minds with fascinating "nutritional nuggets" about foods and herbs. Danielle also recently wrote a book called "52 Small Changes for the Family," an inspiring guide that helps families make one small change each week to improve their overall happiness and health. You can learn more about Danielle at HealthyMamas.com. 

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