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A bowl of creamy, healthy protein packed mac and cheese made with chickpea pasta, broccoli and spinach. Macaroni is topped with extra cheddar.

Protein Packed Healthy Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian


A healthy mac and cheese recipe that is packed with protein, broccoli and spinach. Perfect as a full meal and a sneaky way to get your kids to eat more veggies.


  • 1 box (8 oz) Barilla Chickpea Rotini
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 Tablespoon organic butter
  • 1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 Laughing Cow spreadable cheese wedge
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz) reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese (more, if needed)*
  • 1 handful chopped baby spinach
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Boil pasta & broccoli: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chickpea rotini pasta, return to a boil and cook for a total of 8 minutes, adding in the broccoli florets at the four minute mark. Drain pasta and broccoli.
  2. Add remaining ingredients: In the same large pot over low/medium heat add butter, milk, salt and pepper. Once butter has melted add in drained pasta and broccoli, spreadable cheese wedge and shredded cheese. Let cheese melt a little, about 30 seconds. Use a spoon to stir everything together until pasta is well coated with cheese, adding more cheese if needed. Add in chopped baby spinach and toss until wilted.
  3. Serve: Serve immediately with additional salt and pepper, if needed.


  • Pasta: As I mentioned above, I love using legume pasta to amp up the nutrition count. That said, you can totally use whatever pasta you prefer.
  • Veggies: Not a fan of spinach and broccoli? Feel free to use other veggies!
  • Cheese: I used organic Irish cheddar cheese and shredded it myself. In case you were wondering, let me just confirm that real cheese is 100x better than powdered cheese or even pre-shredded cheese. Fresh is always better and shredding the cheese takes no time at all. However, you can use whatever you prefer including reduced fat cheddar cheese.
  • Vegan + Dairy Free: If you want to make this recipe vegan or dairy-free you can use vegan butter, vegan shredded cheddar cheese and 1 Tablespoon of vegan cream cheese instead of the spreadable cheese wedge.
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian


  • Serving Size: 1 (made with reduced fat cheddar cheese)
  • Calories: 395
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 354mg
  • Fat: 17g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Fiber: 10g
  • Protein: 26g
  • Cholesterol: 38mg

Keywords: protein mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese

Parchment paper lined with protein balls.


Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!