Macaroni Cheese

Picture credit: Carl Tremblay/ Getty Images

You can indulge in this tasty dose of comfort food without undoing all your hard work, thanks to Mark Bittman, author of The Food Matters Cookbook (£21.88, Simon & Schuster). Bittman, who has a marathon PB of 4:26, gets his guilt-free mac ’n’ cheese fix by swapping high-fat butter and cream for chicken stock, puréed cauliflower and a moderate amount of cheese.

Preparation time: 65 minutes

Serves: 4 

  • 625ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces
  • 225g wholewheat macaroni ( or wholewheat fusilli
  • 40g grated cheese (such as sharp cheddar, gruyère or emmental, or a combination)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 20g grated parmesan
  • 40g wholegrain breadcrumbs

1 Preheat your oven to 200C. In a saucepan, warm the stock and bay leaves on a medium-low heat for five minutes, then turn off the heat and leave covered.

2 Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water for 25 minutes, then place in a   food processor. Cook the pasta in the same water for five minutes. Drain and rinse to cool; put the cooked pasta in a greased baking dish.

3 In batches, process the cauliflower with the stock (discard the bay leaves), cheese, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the pasta and spread evenly in the dish. Top with parmesan and breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.

The Skinny

Calories 420
Fat 15g
Carbs 57g
Protein 20g

The Healthy

Swap white pasta and breadcrumbs for brown varieties to lower your risk of developing obesity-related conditions such as type II diabetes and heart disease later in life.

The protein-packed parmesan provides six per cent of your daily calcium requirements. This vital mineral helps regulate muscle function and enzyme activity.

The puréed cauliflower in this dish provides a massive hit of vitamin C, which could help reduce post-workout muscle soreness.

This recipe appeared in the February 2012 edition of the magazine. Many thanks to Mark Bittman for supplying this recipe.