This ridiculously creamy macaroni and cheese with broccoli and ham is perfect as either a quick weekend lunch or an easy weeknight dinner. It’s ready in under 20 minutes and, thanks to GO Veggie!, it’s lactose free!
Last weekend was the first rainy weekend of fall, and I loved having an excuse to have a cozy weekend at home. There’s nothing better than curing up with a magazine and listening to the pitter patter of rain on the windows.
Of course, a cozy weekend like that called for an equally cozy dinner and this stovetop mac and cheese definitely fit the bill. I’m a huge fan of macaroni and cheese – I’ve made it with everything from pulled pork to apple butter – but I haven’t made it since cutting back on dairy last June. (Although I still eat a little regular cheese from time to time, I know my limits.)
I decided to put GO Veggie! lactose free cheese to the test, and this recipe is definitely a game changer. I love their “cheese free cheese” in other recipes, but hadn’t tried it in a sauce yet. Now I regret waiting so long – this sauce is so rich and creamy that it would give every other mac and cheese recipe I’ve tried a run for its money.
The sauce for macaroni and cheese usually includes loads of milk and butter; I substituted vegetable stock thickened with a roux made from flour and olive oil. The vegetable stock adds a little more flavor to the sauce so you don’t need to worry about adding aromatics like onion or garlic, plus it keeps things on the lighter side. Between that swap and the fact that GO Veggie! lactose free cheddar shreds have half the fat and fewer calories than regular cheese, this creamy stovetop mac is significantly lighter than more traditional versions.
When making the sauce, be sure to mix the cheese in a little bit at a time and let it melt completely before adding more – if you add it all at once, it will melt together in a big clump instead of creating a velvety sauce. I added some GO Veggie! dairy free classic plain cream cheese for extra creaminess and thinned the sauce with a little pasta water until it was the perfect consistency.
This mac and cheese would be delicious plain, but I added some ham and broccoli to make a more substantial meal. You can cook the broccoli right in the same pot as your pasta – just add it 4 minutes before the pasta is done. The timing will vary depending on the size and shape of your pasta, so be sure to check the package. Mine said it would take 9 minutes to cook, so I added the broccoli 5 minutes in.
- 8 ounces ridged elbow macaroni
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 7 ounce ham steak, diced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable stock
- 4 ounces GO Veggie! Lactose Free Cheddar Shreds
- 1/4 cup GO Veggie! Dairy Free Classic Plain Cream Cheese
- 5-6 dashes hot sauce (optional)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, adding the broccoli to the pot 4 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain.
- While the pasta cooks, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the ham and cook 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned and heated through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the ham to a plate, leaving the oil in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk the flour into the oil to form a thick paste. Let cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in the stock. Simmer 5 minutes.
- Stir in the cheddar shreds little by little, allowing them to melt completely. Stir in the cream cheese and add the hot sauce, if using. If the sauce is to thick, stir in some of the pasta water to help thin it out.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, broccoli, and ham. Season to taste with salt and additional hot sauce.