Are you a fan of brussels sprouts? If not, I’m about to change your mind with this fabulous creamy, gooey brussels sprouts mac and cheese. Because let’s be honest, everything’s better when it involves mac and cheese.
When I was growing up I ate a lot of Kraft Mac and Cheese. Specifically the spiral white cheddar mac and cheese with lots of black pepper and peas. It was kinda my jam. These days, I’m much more into cooking nutritious meals at home that Tony and I both enjoy.
Tony didn’t used to be a huge brussels sprouts fan until I started cooking them in the most interesting of ways (think italian shredded brussels salads, perfectly grilled with lots of garlic and more!). And when you can’t think of anything else to do with brussels, well you know… CHEESE IS THE ANSWER.
I decided I would make a vegetarian one pan brussels sprouts mac and cheese with a lightened up creamy cheese sauce. HOT DIGGITY DOG scoop me up some of this creamy, hot noodle fest right now.
What makes this brussels sprouts mac and cheese a little healthier?
You’re probably wondering how this is a lightened up, healthier mac and cheese and here’s the answer:
- Less butter
- Less cheese
- Dairy free milk if ya want
- And LOTS of brussels instead of a ton of pasta
Instead of making a butter heavy sauce, I made a slurry of sorts, which helps the mac and cheese stay creamy and coat every bit of brussels sprouts and noodles. I was in love and guess what? So was Tony. He went back for seconds. And then thirds. And then he legitimately polished off the entire pan (with my help, of course.)
What you’ll need to make brussels sprouts mac and cheese
This brussels sprouts mac and cheese recipe couldn’t be simpler, but it’s packed with incredible, cheesy flavor. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Pasta: feel free to use any pasta you’d like, even gluten free! I used a gemelli pasta shape in this recipe, but my other favs include cavatappi, large shells and large elbow noodles.
- For the brussels sprouts: you’ll just need a little olive oil, garlic powder, salt & pepper to perfectly cook the brussels.
- For the cheese sauce: this delicious cheddar cheese sauce is made with butter (or ghee), flour, milk of choice, sharp cheddar cheese (v important that it be sharp), garlic, salt & pepper.
- For topping: you’ll want to reserve some of that cheddar cheese for topping, too, and I love finishing off the dish with fresh parsley or hot sauce!
Customize your mac and cheese
Have fun changing up the mix-ins in this creamy brussels sprouts mac and cheese to truly make it your own!
- Add a boost of protein. Feel free to add in any of the following: 1-2 cups diced cooked chicken breast, 1/2 cup chopped bacon, 1 can drained tuna (OMG WOW) or 1 cup white beans. The possibilities are endless.
- Switch up the cheese. I do recommend sticking with at least half of the cheddar for flavor, but you can feel free to sub the other half with a fun alternative like gouda, gruyere, manchego, parmesan, monterey jack or a spicy cheddar!
- Swap your veggies. I suggest peas or steamed or sauteed broccoli and carrots.
How to make brussels sprouts mac and cheese in one pan
That’s right, this brussels sprouts mac and cheese is made in one pan (and a pot)! Say hello to a delicious dinner with minimal clean up. Here’s how to do it:
- Cook your noodles. Simply boil the noodles until al dente according to the directions on the package. Drain them & set them aside.
- Cook your brussels. Add the oil, brussels sprouts & seasonings to a oven safe skillet or pot and cook until the brussels sprouts turn a nice golden color. Set aside.
- Make your cheese sauce. In the same pot melt the butter, add the garlic and whisk in the flour. Slowly add in the milk and whisk away any lumps, then bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer for a few minutes until it’s nice and thick. Lastly, fold in the cheese until it’s melted!
- Add your mix-ins. You’ll then add the noodles, brussels sprouts and any proteins you’d like into the cheese sauce. Taste everything and add some extra salt & pepper as needed.
- Cheese it up. The key to delicious homemade mac and cheese: add some more cheese on top and put the whole pan under the oven broiler for a couple minutes until it’s nice and bubbly. SO GOOD.
Storing & reheating tips
- In the fridge. Place any leftover brussels sprouts mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
- Freezing? I wouldn’t recommend freezing this recipe as the texture and taste might not come out the way you want it to when defrosted.
- In the microwave. Feel free to reheat in a bowl in the microwave until heated through. You may want to add a splash of additional milk for extra moisture.
- In the oven. If you’re reheating in the oven, simply place your portion of mac and cheese in an oven safe dish, mix in a tablespoon or so more of milk, cover it with foil and heat it for 20 minutes or so at 350 degrees F.
More delicious brussels sprouts recipes
Check out all of our delicious brussels sprouts recipes here!
I hope you love this brussels sprouts mac and cheese! If you make it, be sure to leave a comment & a rating so I know how you liked it. You can also show me your creations by tagging #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram.
Brussels Sprouts Mac and Cheese
Delicious one pan brussels sprouts mac and cheese made with a lightened up cheese sauce for the perfect 30-minute dinner! This easy brussels sprouts mac and cheese recipe is great for kiddos and the perfect way to get your veggies in.
- For the pasta:
- 8 ounces gemelli pasta* (or any pasta of choice)
- For the brussels sprouts:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, halved and any outer yellow leaves removed
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- For the cheddar cheese sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- ¼ cup all purpose flour (whole wheat or all purpose GF flour will also work)
- 1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond or cashew milk (can also use regular milk)
- 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese)**
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
- For topping:
- 2 oz cheddar cheese (about ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese)
- Parsley, for garnishing
First boil the noodles until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Once done cooking, drain and set aside.
While the noodles are boiling, cook the brussels sprouts: In a large oven safe skillet or pot, add in olive oil and place over medium high heat. Once hot, add in brussels sprouts and sprinkle garlic powder on top, then season with salt and pepper. Stir frequently and cook until brussels begin to turn slightly golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Once nice, golden and tender, transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet or pot, make a slurry: add butter and garlic. Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds until a paste forms. Slowly add in cashew/almondmilk (or regular milk), whisking away any lumps. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes, stirring every so often. Next add in 6 ounce of cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Finally, fold in cooked noodles and cooked brussels sprouts to the cheese sauce. Taste again and add additional salt and pepper, if necessary. Top with additional 2 ounces shredded cheddar. At this point you can either serve the mac and cheese and just fold in the extra cheddar you just added, or remove from heat and place under the oven broiler for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly golden brown. Serves 6. Top with a little freshly ground black pepper, and parsley if you’d like.
To make gluten free: Feel free to use a gluten free pasta. My favorite is Banza.
To store: Place any leftover brussels sprouts mac and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. I wouldn't recommend freezing this recipe as the texture and taste might not come out the way you want it to when defrosted.
To reheat: Feel free to reheat in a bowl in the microwave until heated through. You may want to add a splash of additional milk for extra moisture. If you're reheating in the oven, simply place your portion of mac and cheese in an oven safe dish, mix in a tablespoon or so more of milk, cover it with foil and heat it for 20 minutes or so at 350 degrees F.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats