Today’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese with zuchinni, cauliflower and chia seeds comes from Mandy Sacher, a paediatric nutritionist, mum and author of the bestseller Wholesome Child: Complete Nutrition Guide and Cookbook. The book includes a host of nutritional information and guidance, along with more than 140 allergy-friendly recipes and a range of menu planners suitable for busy families.
30 minutes (+ 30 mins cooking time) | Serves 4 | Gluten-free, Egg-free and Nut-free
Mandy says: “Quality ingredients like preservative-free cheese, wholegrain pasta, vegetables and chia seeds turn this dinner staple into a nutritious choice. I often send leftovers to school in the lunch box – and for a fun treat, I place leftovers in mini-muffin holders, add a sprinkle of extra cheese to create mini mac ‘n’ cheese cupcakes.”
2 cups brown rice penne
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup zucchini, peeled And shredded
1-2 tbs coconut oil
¾ cup milk of choice
1 tbs tapioca flour
1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tbs chia seeds
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp paprika powder
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place cauliflower in a food processor and process until it reaches a rice-like consistency.
Heat oil in a large frying pan and sauté cauliflower and zucchini for about 5 mins.
In a saucepan, warm ½ cup of milk.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining milk and the flour until there are no lumps. Then whisk this mixture into the warm milk. Continue whisking gently until milk thickens to the consistency of heavy cream.
Mix cheese, chia seeds, sautéed cauliflower and zucchini into the milk-flour mixture and season with salt and pepper. For a smoother consistency you can process using a hand held blender.
Place the pasta in a casserole dish and pour the cheese and veggie sauce over it. Sprinkle with paprika powder and shredded cheese (optional) and bake in the oven for 30 mins until the top is golden.
Tip: For a school-friendly version, place mixture in mini muffin holders and bake for approximately 25 mins to create mini mac ‘n’ cheese muffins. If your child does not like the sight of seeds, them leave out chia seeds and use chia powder instead.
–Mandy ‘s book is available to purchase online at or via iTunes.