It’s been years since I tasted it for the first time, and I’m still head over heels with greek yogurt. I’m waiting for the honeymoon phase to end. Every time I think to myself “I’ll add yogurt to this, but it probably won’t work the same…”–BAM! It proves me wrong. I’m okay with being proved wrong when it leads to delicious results.
What makes this recipe magical is that the yogurt replaces the high calorie white sauce that would typically fill the mac and cheese. I went ahead and included nutrition facts for this recipe just so that you can see what a difference using the greek yogurt makes. For frame of reference I always use my family’s favorite traditional recipe (Patti LaBelle’s Over the Rainbow Mac and Cheese), which has 631 calories, 38 grams of total fat, 23 grams of saturated fat, and 153 mg of cholesterol per serving. Let’s cut those numbers in half with our giant sword of awesomeness, shall we?
- ½ lb. dry elbow macaroni (brown rice or whole wheat works great)
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 T. All-Purpose Flour
- ½ c. Milk - Reduced fat, 2%
- 1 t. Salt
- ¼ t. Pepper
- ¾ c. Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
- 1 c. Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 c. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 2 T. panko breadcrumbs (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it shimmers.
- Add in the flour and stir briskly with a whisk to form a roux. Let the roux cook for about 1 minute while constantly stirring.
- Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly with the whisk.
- When the sauce is completely smooth, add in the salt, pepper, and monterrey jack cheese.
- Stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is very smooth.
- Remove from heat and let the cheese cool slightly before adding in the greek yogurt and whisking together until very smooth.
- With the pan still off the heat, add the cooked pasta and ½ c. of the cheddar cheese to the sauce. Stir with a spatula until all the pasta is coated in sauce and shredded cheese.
- Pour mixture into a greased baking dish.
- Top with remaining shredded cheddar and panko breadcrumbs.
- Bake in preheated oven just until the cheese on top is completely melted, about 10 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
I want to share a quote that I read online recently that really struck me. The author wrote that “Southerners savor their comfort food– they seem like they refuse to fret about the impact it’ll have on their physique or their health. This philosophy, of course, may have its downsides. But it’s also a comforting reminder to the quinoa-munching, juice-cleansing, yuppie rest of the nation that it’s okay to follow our taste buds.” The article is definitely supposed to be comedic, but I took it a little more seriously when I read it. It’s SAD that the rest of the country assumes we don’t care about our health, and it’s even more sad that people equate comfort food with food that will make you obese and kill you. I could write a novel in response to that quote (if you think the south has no yuppies then you haven’t been to Atlanta), but instead I will just say that you can have your
cake mac and cheese and eat it too. I may refuse to “fret” but I also refuse to stop enjoying my favorite foods just because I value my health! A dish doesn’t have to contain a week’s worth of saturated fat in order to be delicious. *steps off soapbox*
Most importantly, this tastes incredible. I don’t know how the yogurt transforms itself so well into a sauce, but it just works. Jason loved it and said that it tasted so rich, which is ironic considering it’s so much lighter than our traditional version. In terms of taste, this is my FAVORITE of all the mac and cheese recipes I’ve made.