Recipe: Mac and Cheese with hidden veggies

Kinderling News & Features

This Mac and Cheese with hidden veggies is a great way to get extra goodness into the kids - it’s freezer friendly and it is popular with all three of my kids – winning!

If my boys could choose just one food to live on for the rest of their lives, pasta would have to be pretty close to the top of their list. They just LOVE it and thankfully they are pretty happy to give any type of pasta a try – which is a bonus for me.  

I’ve made this Mac and Cheese a few times now and it’s still a hit with the boys. It’s based on a couple of different recipes that are floating around, and I came up with it thanks to not having all of the ingredients for any particular recipe when I went to make it one day, so I decided to just create my own!

In my version of Macaroni and Cheese, along with the yummy cheese sauce, it also includes pumpkin, sweet potato and zucchini and it's so popular, I have trouble keeping a straight face when my boys think they are being served up a ‘treat’ of a meal with no veggies! To give it some extra flavour, I like to add a little garlic powder and nutmeg to the cheese sauce, however you can certainly leave these out if you prefer.

My kids aren’t bothered by the small green flecks of zucchini in this pasta, however if your kids will spot it, simply peel the skin off your zucchini before steaming it. Also, if you would like to make this meat free, just omit the shaved ham – too easy! The kids are happy to sit down to a bowl of this on its own for a meal, but I also like to serve it alongside another one of their favourite foods: sausages, roast chicken – pretty much anything really!

Mac and Cheese with hidden veggies

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Notes: This can be served as a side dish (will serve six) or as a meal on its own (will serve four). You can omit the ham to make this recipe vegetarian.


  • 100g of tasty cheese
  • 60g of parmesan cheese
  • 1.2 litres (1200g) of water
  • 150g pumpkin - peeled
  • 250g sweet potato - peeled
  • 1 zucchini (approximately 150g)
  • 200g shaved ham - roughly chopped
  • 300g macaroni
  • 50g plain flour
  • 500g milk
  • 40g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Grate the tasty and parmesan cheeses and set aside until needed.
  2. Roughly chop the peeled pumpkin and sweet potato as well as the zucchini (you can also peel this if you want to) into small cubes (no bigger than 2cm) and place in a steaming basket to cook for seven minutes, or until soft and cooked through.
  3. In the meantime, place the macaroni into a large saucepan with boiling water and cook as per the packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and place into a large bowl.
  4. Blitz the steamed vegetables with a stick blender (or you can also mash them) and add them to the bowl with the cooked macaroni.
  5. Place the butter, flour, milk, nutmeg, garlic powder and grated cheeses to a saucepan and cook over a medium high heat while whisking continuously until the mixture begins to thicken, this should only take a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the shaved ham and cheese sauce to the bowl with the macaroni and vegetables and gently stir to combine - serve.

Republished with permission from Create Bake Make.