Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese (gluten-free, whole grain options)

This sweet potato macaroni and cheese is incredibly creamy and sneaks in a little added nutrition thanks to the sweet potato! With gluten-free and whole grain options.

This recipe comes from Lauren of Healthy Food For Living. She has a new e-book out called The Kid’s Daily Plate: A Week’s Worth of Healthy Mix ‘N Match Toddler- and Kid-Approved Meals. Being as I have the palate of a picky five year old, it felt like this book was written just for me. ;) All of the recipes are super simple, fuss-free and especially perfect for little ones.

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese {gluten-free and whole grain options}

There are so many recipes I want to make but I was drawn to this recipe first because I’m always looking for ways to make eating vegetables more palatable for me. People say I’m just cooking vegetables incorrectly, but nope. I hate them. I like regular potatoes prepared in all kinds of ways and sweet potatoes in roasted / French fry form. That’s it. Everything else I puree (totally serious here) and wash down with lots of water.

The recipe in the book is actually for sweet potato macaroni and cheese cups but with Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to make it more Thanksgiving-friendly. It’s really easy to make the mac and cheese cups, but I only have one oven and that’s dedicated to turkey and dinner rolls.

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese {gluten-free, whole grain options}

The first time I made this I didn’t have the full amount of cheese on hand and it had the weirdest effect. I swear… it tasted like Cheetos! It was delicious. :D

The next time, I used the full amount of cheese and it tasted exactly like regular mac and cheese. If you want a more pronounced sweet potato taste, try adding more puree.

I used white cheddar and the mac and cheese still had this lovely orange color to it. I’ve been using white cheddar because up until writing this post, I thought all orange cheddar was artificially colored.

It looks like some cheddar is, but other cheddar is dyed naturally using the seeds of an annatto tree (you can read more about that here, if you like). I think I’ll still stick to white cheddar! I don’t feel like I’m missing anything flavor-wise.

This sweet potato mac and cheese is perfect as-is but it’d also be easy to personalize! I like to keep things plain with just some added garlic powder, but Mr. Texanerin loved his with bacon.

I think next time I’ll add some ham for a little added protein. Whatever you add, it’s sure to be delicious! :)

What’s better than cheese + carbs? More cheese + carbs! Next time I make this mac and cheese, I’m also going to make these Gluten-free Cheddar Herb Muffins from Fearless Dining to go along with it.

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese {gluten-free and whole grain options}

Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese (gluten-free, whole grain options)

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Rated 4.5 by 2 readers
Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese (gluten-free, whole grain options)
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 6-10 servings as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato (mine was 370 grams and was a little more than what was needed)
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni (whole wheat or gluten-free)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour (whole wheat or a gluten-free 1-to-1 blend)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I left this out and used garlic powder instead)
  • 2 cups grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (I used 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, peel and dice the sweet potato into 1/2" pieces. Place in the boiling water and cook until tender, about 10-20 minutes. You can alternatively place the potato on a baking sheet and bake at 400 °F for 1 hour or until soft and then scrape out the flesh.
  2. Mash the cooked sweet potato well and measure out 1 cup (245 grams).
  3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the package. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the mustard, if using, cheese, and 1 cup of mashed sweet potato. Remove the pot from the heat and stir until smooth. I didn't mash my sweet potato well enough and used an immersion blender to make it totally smooth. Add in the salt, pepper and then the macaroni.

Recipe from The Kid's Daily Plate: A Week's Worth of Healthy Mix 'N Match Toddler- and Kid-Approved Meals by Lauren Zembron.

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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44 comments on “Sweet Potato Macaroni and Cheese (gluten-free, whole grain options)” — Add one!

  • Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen says
    November 25, 2015 @ 5:11 pm

    Oooh! This Mac & Cheese version with sweet potato looks phenomenally good! I want some for lunch right now, LOL. Thanks for sharing, girl. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen
      December 2, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

      I love how you wished me happy Thanksgiving in three comments in a row. :D Thank you! And I wish I had some of this mac and cheese, too. So delicious!

      Reply
  • Nutmeg Nanny says
    November 18, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

    This mac and cheese looks creamy and so freaking delicious! I had no idea Lauren had an ebook…I have to check it out!

    Reply
  • Nikki @ Nik Snacks says
    November 18, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

    I. Love. Sweet Potatoes. They’re my favorite everything. I never have thought to make sweet potato mac & cheese. You’ve opened up my eyes to a new horizon! Ha!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nikki @ Nik Snacks
      November 23, 2015 @ 5:25 pm

      Haha. If you love sweet potatoes that much, then you have to try this! ;)

      Reply
  • Nicole says
    November 18, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

    I love that you added sweet potato! Such a fun twist!

    Reply
  • Meg @ With Salt and Wit says
    November 18, 2015 @ 2:04 pm

    First off, gooey and creamy sweet potato mac and cheese is exactly what I am dying to have tonight. For some reason, with our cooler weather and my constant hunger, I am craving all things comfort!

    And who knew that cheese was artificially colored?! Guess I just devoured my cheese rather than contemplating its coloring ;)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Meg @ With Salt and Wit
      November 23, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

      Makes sense to me (that you’re craving all things comfort!) And some cheese is SO orange that I had my suspicions. ;)

      Reply
  • Elio
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    says
    November 18, 2015 @ 10:06 am

    This is a wonderful dish. The peas and dill gave it a new and delightful flavour. Came out really well! I would make this again for son’s birthday, next week! Thanks a lot for sharing. :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Elio
      November 18, 2015 @ 11:42 am

      Peas and dill sounds like an interesting addition! So happy that you enjoyed it and I hope your son will like it, too, and have a happy birthday! Thanks for your feedback. :)

      Reply
  • Rose | The Clean Dish says
    November 18, 2015 @ 3:59 am

    Erin! You picked a great recipe – I love it! It looks sooo creamy and delicious, I want to grab that bowl right out of my monitor! If we ever DO get together, I’ll prepare veggies for you in every way I can think of… there *must* be something you like other than potatoes!! :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Rose | The Clean Dish
      November 18, 2015 @ 1:31 pm

      That sounds like a terrible thing to do. ;) You’d be so sad! I can guarantee it.

      Reply
  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says
    November 17, 2015 @ 10:32 pm

    Love this!! I always like a comforting meal that is also good for you. Pretty sure my son would love this too!

    Reply
  • Kim Beaulieu says
    November 17, 2015 @ 9:35 pm

    My daughter is super picky about veggies and meat. It’s a textural thing for her. The meat thing started very young then she found out where meat is from and became a vegetarian. Which made life a bit complicated because some veggies were palatable to her. I learned to get super creative with the ones that worked. So I totally get where you’re coming from with veggies. I love a lot of them but can’t eat many because of my IBS. Dark greens are a big no-no for me. But sweet potatoes are a-okay. So this has to happen in my house. We were just talking about making a big batch of homemade mac n cheese. Perfect timing.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kim Beaulieu
      November 18, 2015 @ 1:28 pm

      For me it’s the taste and texture. So… everything about them. ;) Cooking for a kid who doesn’t like veggies OR meat must be difficult. I hope she’ll grown to like veggies! People always said that to me but it hasn’t happened, yet. I hope you’ll enjoy the mac and cheese if you try it! :)

      Reply
  • Justine | Cooking and Beer says
    November 17, 2015 @ 5:28 am

    OK…uhhhhh, this is seriously genius! Pinning!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Justine | Cooking and Beer
      November 18, 2015 @ 1:03 pm

      Thanks for pinning! And I agree. I was so excited when I came across this recipe in Lauren’s ebook!

      Reply
  • Lauren @ Healthy Delicious says
    November 17, 2015 @ 4:03 am

    I’m dying over how creamy this looks! I always hide butternut in my mac and cheese, but I need to try sweet potato next time. Super smart!!

    Reply
  • Amanda | The Chunky Chef says
    November 17, 2015 @ 3:14 am

    Wow that looks so creamy and delicious!! My kids would lick their bowls clean :)

    Reply
  • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says
    November 17, 2015 @ 1:40 am

    So creamy, yummy! And such a great way to slip in some added nutrition and flavor!

    Reply
  • Amanda -The Kitcheneer says
    November 16, 2015 @ 10:25 pm

    Never would have thought to put sweet potato in mac n cheese! This is genius!

    Reply
  • stephanie says
    November 16, 2015 @ 10:09 pm

    So funny that you hate all veggies! I LOVE them! This sounds like a super tasty way to get some veggies in though!

    Reply
  • The Food Hunter says
    November 16, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

    cool fact about orange cheese! love this recipe.

    Reply
  • Julie @ Tastes of Lizzy T
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    says
    November 16, 2015 @ 4:27 pm

    I love sneaking in the sweet potato. My daughter goes crazy for mac ‘n cheese. Any way to get it a little healthier counts!

    Reply
  • Ginny McMeans says
    November 16, 2015 @ 3:20 pm

    Love the addition of sweet potato. Everybody would love this!

    Reply
  • Amy Stafford says
    November 16, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

    Love the use of sweet potato to make this creamy and delicious! Such a smart idea!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Amy Stafford
      November 18, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

      Thanks, Amy! Lauren did an awesome job with this recipe. :)

      Reply
  • Kacey @ The Cookie Writer says
    November 16, 2015 @ 2:08 pm

    Such a great way to hide your veggies! It is okay, there are some things I have tried that I do not like and people have said I am cooking them wrong, but you cannot like everything in the world!!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kacey @ The Cookie Writer
      November 18, 2015 @ 12:59 pm

      Yes! Everyone seems to think that there must be a way for me to like veggies. But there simply isn’t. ;)

      Reply
  • Medeja says
    November 16, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

    Looks so yummy! What a color and so creamy..

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Medeja
      November 18, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

      Thanks you, Medeja!

      Reply
  • Kelly @ Hidden fruits and veggies says
    November 16, 2015 @ 1:41 pm

    Yay for delicious vegetables! I usually like to puree butternut squash into mac and cheese but haven’t tried it with sweet potato. Kind of excited to go easy on the cheese (for the first time ever) if it means that it tastes like cheetos!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kelly @ Hidden fruits and veggies
      November 18, 2015 @ 12:01 pm

      Haha. I bet it’ll depend on the brand and combination of cheese you use. Although I did it twice with two different types of cheddar and got the Cheeto effect both times. ;) And Pecorino Romano! I used about 1/4 of that each time.

      Reply

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