Healthier Macaroni and Cheese, 2 Methods

Since macaroni and cheese wins as the most popular meal in my house now, I try to make it as healthy as possible without it being rejected. While I’ve experimented with various add-ins, this is the basic recipe I make at least once a week. This is what fills my biggest dairy pot and lasts for more than one meal. Cut the amounts in half if you just want one weeknight supper for a medium-sized family.

dsc07092 X2

Two 500 gram bags of whole wheat pasta. I try to sneak a little nutrition into them when they’re not looking.  My favorite shape for macaroni and cheese is fussili because the ridges grab the cheese. If you’re the type who thinks meal-time is a fun way to practice fine motor skills, as opposed to the “stop playing with your food!” type, use penne.

For the cheese, I used half full-fat (about 25%) grated yellow cheese and half 3% fat gevinah levanah, soft white cheese. My preferred brand of gevinah levanah is Strauss “Ski” because it contains a little cream and tastes the creamiest. If you don’t live in Israel, I suggest subbing low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt for the gevinah levanah. 

1 kilogram whole (2.2 pounds) whole wheat pasta
250 grams (1 heaping cup) grated mozzeralla, gouda, or similar cheese
250 grams (1 heaping cup) low-fat, soft white cheese or Greek yogurt
1-2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
2 tablespoons flour (for make-ahead method only)

2 methods of assembly:

Make-ahead method:

  1. Boil the noodles according to package directions, rinse with cold water, and store in the fridge until you want to make macaroni and cheese, up to 5 days.
  2. Make the cheese sauce:
    * Heat 2 cups of milk in a large pot. Don’t boil, or it will all disappear on you.
    * Mix flour, salt, and pepper, and basil if using. Coat the grated cheese in flour mixture.
    * Add cheese mixture to hot milk and stir with a wooden spoon or chopstick until it has melted, breaking up any clumps.
    * Add soft white cheese and stir until a smooth white sauce has formed.
    *Add pasta to the pot and mix until fully coated and warm. Add more milk if necessary.
    * Season with basil, garlic powder, or more pepper. I add spices straight to the bowls, according to each child’s taste.


Quick method:

  1. Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain water by holding lid on pot and tilting. Do not rinse!
  2. With stove off, sprinkle hot pasta with salt and pepper. Add white cheese and mix well.
  3. Add 1 cup milk so the cheese doesn’t stick to the pot. Mix well.
  4. Add grated cheese and mix until evenly distributed and melted.

What’s you favorite macaroni and cheese recipe?



About israelisalad

I'm an American-Israeli mother who loves to make healthy food from fresh ingredients, on a budget and with limited time. My site is full of easy, healthy recipes and insights into life in Israel.
This entry was posted in Fast Food, Stovetop and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Healthier Macaroni and Cheese, 2 Methods

  1. Mam and Papa says:

    It’s nice to know we’ll be able to get whole wheat pasta when we move to Israel.


  2. Pingback: Ratatoille-Inspired Mediterranean Grain Bowl | Israeli Salad

  3. Pingback: Planting and Nourishing: Food for Thought | Israeli Salad

  4. I never thought to put Greek yogurt in. In the old days, I made a white sauce with added cheese. Now I just add milk, butter, cheese and a dab of mustard. This looks very good.😍 thank you!


  5. Pingback: Peatitim | Israeli Salad

  6. Pingback: Poor Man’s Pesto | Israeli Salad

  7. Pingback: Pull-Apart Roasted Garlic Eggplant | Israeli Salad

What do you think? Join the conversation! :-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s