Veggie mac and cheese muffins have 3 vegetables and 3 kinds of cheese, plus a crunchy topping, and are a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables!
Today I’m bringing back a recipe I posted on this blog before I’d told anyone I had a blog. It was my hidden little part of the Internet and I was just trying to figure out all the ins and outs of websites and blogging before I let the world in on my secret.
It was also before I knew anything about how to take pictures of food. I’m still learning and have a long way to go, but I don’t shudder at the majority of my photography anymore, so that’s progress.
And so when I made a batch of these veggie mac and cheese muffins recently, I knew I needed to redo the photos and republish this recipe. Cause it’s a really good one and deserves to come out of hiding!
J, my 3-year-old, has been begging me for mac and cheese recently. He’s a bit crazed. And while I love to experiment and do things like my kale and butternut squash mac and cheese, these individual muffins are what he knows best.
He loves ALL the cheesy goodness — there are THREE kinds of cheese in these muffins — and I love ALL the veggie goodness — there are THREE kinds of vegetables, too!
That’s a winner in my book! And the kiddos gobble them down. J had 3 that night and M, my 5-year-old, chowed down on two of these.
Can’t blame them – look at that cheesy, golden brown deliciousness!
A few notes on these veggie mac and cheese muffins:
- I cook my macaroni pasta in a half milk-half water mixture when I make these mac and cheese muffins. Just heat up your milk and water on the stove but be sure to watch it VERY carefully – once it boils, it can boil over in a second and that’s not fun. Cooking the pasta in milk adds some creamy richness to the pasta, but it’s optional so you can just cook the noodles in water if you don’t want to babysit it.
- I use a combination of cheddar and mozzarella cheese in the muffins, but you could use all cheddar if you want. Or get a little more adventurous and try Monterey Jack or Fontina. You could add a little gouda to some of the mix for the grownups. Play with it!
- I use a combination of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots for the veggie puree. It’s often found all together in one bag in the freezer section as “California mix.” I cook it in a small amount of water on the stove for about 10 minutes, then puree it using an immersion blender.
- You can use any combination of veggies you think your kids will like. Carrots give it a bit of sweetness and also make the color look like it’s extra cheesy. Cauliflower is pretty mild and well-hidden. Broccoli, spinach and peas are great options and will bring a nice hint of green. 💚
- You can also serve this mac & cheese straight from the stove if you don’t want to bake it as muffins. I have done that. But I prefer to make the muffins so I can pop the extras in the freezer to have on hand. They’ll keep up to 3-4 months in a freezer-safe container and when you’re ready to eat, you can just reheat in the microwave and voila!
I hope you give these veggie mac and cheese muffins a try – they are a huge hit in our house for the kids and the grown-ups. And have been for years. 💕
Have a wonderful week!
Veggie mac and cheese muffins
Veggie mac and cheese muffins have 3 kinds of cheese and 3 different veggies - great for kids!
- 2 cups macaroni or other small pasta
- 1 heaping cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 heaping cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1 cup pureed vegetables (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 400. Spray two muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.
Cook your pasta according to package directions. (See notes.) Drain most of the liquid from the pasta, reserving about 2/3 of a cup. Return the cooked pasta to the pan.
Stir the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses into the pasta until they are melted. Stir in the pureed vegetables and salt until mixed and warmed through. Add splashes of pasta water, if needed, to get everything to come together.
In a small bowl, mix the Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs together until combined.
Put the mac and cheese mixture into a muffin tin, filling each up all the way to the top and pressing the pasta down to help it all stick together in the muffin cups.
Sprinkle the top of each muffin with about a tablespoon of the Parmesan-breadcrumb mixture.
Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes, until the mac and cheese is bubbly and the tops are slightly browned. Serve warm and enjoy!
I cook my macaroni pasta in a half milk-half water mixture when I make these mac and cheese muffins. Just heat up your milk and water on the stove but be sure to watch it VERY carefully - once it boils, it can boil over in a second and that's not fun. It adds some creamy richness to the pasta, but it's optional so you can just cook the noodles in water if you don't want to babysit it.
I use a combination of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots for the veggie puree. It’s often found all together in one bag in the freezer section as “California mix.” I cook it in a small amount of water on the stove for about 10 minutes, then puree it using an immersion blender.
You can serve this mac & cheese straight from the stove if you don’t want to bake it as muffins.
But these muffins freeze great! I cook them completely then let them cool and put leftover muffins in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. They'll keep in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
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(Note: This post has been updated with new photographs and refreshed text. It was originally posted in May 2015.)