Creamy macaroni and cheese that is actually good for you? Yes please! Loaded with protein, cottage cheese mac and cheese has become my everything. Make for meal prep and reach your protein goals during the week or make for your kids to sneak the nutrition in. This basic recipe is gluten-free, versatile, super easy, and TASTY.
Here’s something I never thought I’d say… cottage cheese is having a moment. So here I am jumping on that train and not caring one bit because this recipe is delicious.
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About the ingredients
All of these ingredients are easily to find. I have linked many of these ingredients to Amazon links in the recipe card for anyone unfamiliar with them or if you are outside the United States, but all are readily available in US grocery stores or Walmart.
- Chickpea pasta. I used chickpea pasta for more protein, but regular pasta or whole wheat works too.
- Reduced fat cottage cheese. I highly recommend Good Culture cottage cheese. It tastes better, and I find it is less runny.
- 2% reduced fat milk. Whole milk or 1% reduced fat milk will work too, but I use 2%. I have not tried skim milk.
- Cornstarch. The cornstarch serves to thicken the cheese sauce for this mac and cheese rather than using butter and flour to make a roux.
- Shredded reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese. We sacrifice a bit of flavor using reduced fat cheese but given that I make this for meal prep, I can live with that. If you can, then by all means use whatever cheese you like.
- Dijon mustard. Just a bit for a little bite of mustard.
- Seasonings: kosher salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
How to make cottage cheese mac and cheese
Okay now here is the good part… we literally just blend together the ingredients for the cheese sauce. Then we warm it through until thickened, toss in your cooked pasta, and we are done!
Just imagine! Tasty comforting macaroni and cheese with a creamy dreamy sauce that you can feel GOOD about. And with this basic recipe as the foundation, the possibilities are endless for cheesy macs. Here are some suggestions to spruce up your cottage cheese macaroni and cheese.
- Crumbled turkey bacon.
- Roasted peppers such as poblano pepper or red bell pepper. See my Poblano Mac and Cheese for directions to roast peppers.
- Sun-dried tomato and chopped fresh basil.
- Lean shredded chicken.
- Cooked and crumbled lean ground beef or turkey.
- Seasonings such as Old Bay seafood seasoning, taco seasoning, or BBQ seasoning. I especially love Old Bay on mac and cheese.
- Drizzle sugar-free barbecue sauce.
- Top with sliced black olives and green onion.
- Top with chili crunch.
Note that this recipe makes a good amount of sauce, and I prefer to use LESS sauce than it makes. So I highly recommend not just dumping all the pasta and sauce together, in case you don’t want it too saucy. If you don’t want to waste sauce, simply up the amount of pasta from 8 to 10 ounces.
Make the cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking. This saves time, and means it only takes 15 minutes to throw this all together.
Yes! This recipe is ideal for meal prep, and that is how I normally make it. Store in food containers for up to four days.
See my recipe for Basic Macaroni and Cheese for the best cheesy mac of your life. You can check out all my Mac and Cheese recipes under the Dinner section of the menu.
Cottage Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
Cook the pasta
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
Make the cottage cheese sauce
- While pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce by blending the remaining ingredients until smooth.
- Transfer sauce to a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring, until sauce is thickened.
Assemble the mac and cheese
- Add the drained pasta to the sauce (*see Notes). Serve.
Calorie count is purely an estimate calculated using an online application to serve as a guide and not to be taken as accurate nutritional information. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.