Recipe #14: Gluten-Free Chili Mac n Cheese with Hidden Veggies

I love a solid mac n cheese, but I hate knowing all the heavy cream and junk that goes into it. I’ve transformed this classic southern dish, added a meaty chili component, and lightened up the sauce with puréed vegetables!!


gluten-free rice elbow noodles
4 oz colby jack cheese, shredded
4 oz asiago/provolone/mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 oz half and half
16 oz butternut squash
3 large carrots
1 small can diced tomatoes
1 lb ground beef
1 shallot, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp cayenne
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper



Bring a pot of water to a boil. While you wait for the water, steam the butternut squash and carrots until soft. Blend in food processor or Vitamix until smooth. Set aside.

Heat olive oil on a large non-stick pan and add the shallot and minced garlic. After a few minutes, add the ground beef with the cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, basil, and some salt and pepper. Cook thoroughly and set aside.

Drain the pasta and save 1/2 cup of the water!

Now time for the sauce! Heat the half and half to a low simmer. Add the cheeses slowly and stir. Add some of the pasta water (the starch in the water acts as a binding component) to the sauce to help thin it out. Slowly add the butternut squash and carrot purée to the sauce. Make sure it is well mixed!

Add the beef and diced tomatoes to the sauce and stir. Once well mixed, add the sauce to the pasta and stir gently until well mixed. Bon appétit!