Feb 24
2014

Light(er) Sweet Potato Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe

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This light(er) macaroni and cheese recipe gets a burst of flavor and texture from mashed sweet potato and a great sharp cheddar cheese.
Light Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #vegetarian

I’m going to make this short and sweet because there is a lot of mac and cheese to get to. I’m not just talking about this light version, which gets much of its creaminess from mashed sweet potatoes, but the other creative mac and cheese recipes from a bunch of fellow food bloggers.

You see, this post is my contribution to Mac and Cheese Mania, a fun and gooey evented hosted by Rachel of Rachel Cooks and Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny.

And there’s a way for you to join in on the fun.

Light Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com

Light Sweet Potato Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com

If you have a family favorite mac and cheese recipe, head over either to Nutmeg Nanny or Rachel Cooks to link-up your recipe for a chance to win some pretty fun prizes (more details on their sites). And you don’t not need to have a food blog to enter!

Light Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #vegetarian

Let’s put the sweet potato mac and cheese recipe in the spotlight for the moment. I lightened this panko-crusted baked pasta dish by using skim milk to make the cheese sauce. Does this make it watery and any less creamy? Not a chance.

Instead the richness comes from the mashed sweet potato and an easy cheese sauce thickened with a quick roux (olive oil with flour, in this case). The cheese sauce is mixed with a little Dijon mustard and grated nutmeg for an extra layer of flavor.

One of the tricks to putting lots of flavor into a lightened-up baked pasta dish is to use good-quality cheese. In this case, I used a great sharp white cheddar cheese that melted beautifully and packed a punch of flavor with just a small amount of cheese.

The recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 11- by 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Pierce the sweet potato all over with a fork. Cook in a microwave until the sweet potato is very tender, about 5 minutes per side.

Light Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #vegetarian

Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise and, when cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a shallow dish. With the back of a fork, mash the sweet potato until well-mashed and almost smooth.

In a large nonstick saucepan, cook the elbow pasta about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In the same saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 1 minute.

Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

Light Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #vegetarian

While whisking, gradually pour the vegetable broth and skim milk into the flour mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the mashed sweet potato, grated cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted.

SweetPotatoMaLight Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #vegetarian

Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl stir together the panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Light Sweet Potato Mac 'n Cheese Recipe | cookincanuck.com #recipe #vegetarian

Bake until the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Place the casserole under the broiler for 1 minute, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Watch carefully so that the breadcrumbs don’t burn. Serve.

Be sure to check out the other Mac and Cheese Mania recipes:

Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese by Heather’s Dish
Buffalo Cheddar Mac and Cheese by Eats Well With Others
Creamy Spinach Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese with Gouda by Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Macaroni and Cheese Fritters by Amuse Your Bouche
Skinny Chicken Mac and Cheese Casserole by A Zesty Bite
Creamy Pancetta + Leek Macaroni and Cheese by Simply Scratch
Smoked Bacon Mac and Cheese by Cravings of a Lunatic
Pizza Mac and Cheese by Very Culinary
Crab Mac and Cheese by Dine & Dish
Bacon & Eggs Breakfast Mac & Cheese by Sweet Remedy
Fried Mac & Cheese Balls by The Little Kitchen
Sweet Pork Macaroni and Cheese by Oh, Sweet Basil
Butternut Squash Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese Bake by Queen of Quinoa
Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese by Prevention RD
Butternut Mac and Cheese with Pretzel Crust by Healthy. Delicious.
Skinny Greek Mac and Cheese with Crunchy Pita Chip Topping by The Law Student’s Wife
Potato Skin Mac and Cheese by Eat Your Heart Out
Homestyle Baked Mac & Cheese by Pocket Change Gourmet
Bacon Mac and Cheese Egg Rolls by Miss in the Kitchen
Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese by Crunchy Creamy Sweet
Blue Cheese Bechamel Mac and Cheese by Sweetphi
Korean Mac & Cheese by Cooking with Books
Black and Blue Mac and Cheese by Fabtastic Eats
Tomato and Leek Mac and Cheese by Susie Freaking Homemaker
Healthier Mac & Cheese with Chipotle Peppers by Go Gingham
Mac and Cheese Ice Cream by Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body
Blue Cheese & Bacon Macaroni & Cheese by Gimme Some Oven
Poutine Mac and Cheese with Andouille Gravy by Climbing Grier Mountain
Double Smoked Chicken Mac and Cheese by Girl Carnivore
Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese with Peas and Bacon by Running to the Kitchen
Nudel Gratin by Crumbs and Chaos
Mushroom and Truffle Sea Salt White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese by Big Bear’s Wife
Roasted Poblano and Goat Cheese Mac by Daisy at Home
Creamy Cauliflower ‘n Cheese with Bacon by Barefeet in the Kitchen
Wisconsin Cheese, Brats, and Onion Macaroni and Cheese by a farmgirl’s dabbles
Spinach Queso Mac & Cheese by Bake Your Day
Roasted Garlic Mac and Cheese with a Pancetta Parmesan Crust by Mountain Mama Cooks
French Onion Mac & Cheese by Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts
Healthier Macaroni and Cheese by Texanerin Baking
Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese by CafeTerraBlog
Macaroni and Cheese Stuffed Peppers by Cook the Story
Jack Daniels Mac and Cheese by The Slow Roasted Italian
Lobster Mac and Cheese by FoodieCrush
Green Chili 5-cheese Baked Mac and Cheese by A Southern Fairytale
Homemade Elbow Noodle Tutorial + a Recipe for Roasted Veggie Mac by Bakeaholic Mama
Salsa Verde Mac-n-Cheese (two ways) by Eat2Gather
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Crispy Panko Topping by The Lemon Bowl

Light(er) Sweet Potato Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe

Yield: Serves 8

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 311 cal

Fat per serving: Total Fat 9.0g / Saturated Fat 3.7g

Light(er) Sweet Potato Mac ‘n Cheese Recipe

Calories 310.9 / Total Fat 9.0g / Saturated Fat 3.7g / Cholesterol 17.9mg / Sodium 477.1mg / Total Carbohydrates 45.4g / Fiber 6.0g / Sugars 5.8g / Protein 13.1g / WW (Old Points) 6 / WW (Points+) 8

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. sweet potato
  • 13 oz. whole wheat elbow-shaped pasta
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 1/4 cups skim milk
  • 6 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, preferably whole wheat
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 11- by 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Pierce the sweet potato all over with a fork. Cook in a microwave until the sweet potato is very tender, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise and, when cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh into a shallow dish. With the back of a fork, mash the sweet potato until well-mashed and almost smooth.
  4. In a large nonstick saucepan, cook the elbow pasta about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  5. In the same saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook for 1 minute.
  6. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  7. While whisking, gradually pour the vegetable broth and skim milk into the flour mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.
  8. Stir in the mashed sweet potato, grated cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted.
  9. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  10. In a small bowl stir together the panko breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
  11. Bake until the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Place the casserole under the broiler for 1 minute, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Watch carefully so that the breadcrumbs don't burn. Serve.

Notes

From the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck | cookincanuck.com

Mac and Cheese Mania is being sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ali | Gimme Some Oven February 24, 2014 at 7:06 am

Love the sweet potato in there! This sounds absolutely incredible, Dara!

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2 Amy @Very Culinary February 24, 2014 at 7:19 am

Oh Dara, I love what you made! Pinned!

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3 Laurie {Simply Scratch} February 24, 2014 at 7:27 am

This is pure genius Dara! I love sweet potatoes and I really love that you put it in mac and cheese!

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4 Sarah February 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

Yum! This looks positively creamy and delicious!

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5 Meagan @ A Zesty Bite February 24, 2014 at 11:34 am

I really like this mac and cheese recipe with this sweet potato in it.

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6 Phi @ Sweetphi February 24, 2014 at 1:21 pm

OMG I love sweet potatoes, and I love Mac n Cheese…this looks like such a great combo, can’t wait to try it!

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7 Natalie @ Paper & Birch February 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Wow Dara this looks scrumptious! Definitely putting this on the menu! Thanks for sharing this.

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8 Meg @ The Housewife in Training Files February 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Sweet potatoes are a staple in our house….I have yet to put them in mac n cheese. This recipes sounds divine…going to have to make it!

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9 rachel February 24, 2014 at 3:22 pm

This sounds amazing, Dara! YUUUUM! Love the sweet potato addition <3 ya

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10 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts February 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

What a fabulous idea! I have done this with squash before, not sure why I haven’t thought of sweet potatoes. Sounds fantastic!

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11 JulieD February 24, 2014 at 8:49 pm

I <3 this so much!! What a great idea…I'm trying this soon!

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12 Jenna February 25, 2014 at 6:53 am

Wow! I bet the flavor of this mac n cheese is great!! What a perfect way to lighten up my favorite comfort food!

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13 Amanda February 25, 2014 at 7:53 am

Sweet potato mac ‘n cheese, sounds delicious!

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14 cheri February 25, 2014 at 8:15 am

Great idea adding the sweet potato and using whole wheat pasta. Beautiful dish.

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15 Angie | Big Bear's Wife February 25, 2014 at 9:23 am

I bet the flavor combination of this is amazing. I would have never thought to use sweet potatoes!

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16 Joanne February 25, 2014 at 1:34 pm

I’m always up for including orange vegetables in every nook and cranny in my dinner! Loving that you mixed sweet potato into your mac!

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17 Maria February 25, 2014 at 1:43 pm

Love this Dara!

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18 Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction February 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

Love that you added sweet potato to mac and cheese! This sounds so good!

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19 Kim Beaulieu February 26, 2014 at 3:49 pm

This is a genius idea. I love that you used sweet potato, it’s really creative. I can’t wait to try this.

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20 Rachel Cooks February 28, 2014 at 7:22 am

I’m finally finishing up making my way through the list of amazing recipes (ha–only took me a week…) and I am craving mac and cheese like crazy. Particularly this! Adding sweet potatoes to my grocery list….

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21 Nutmeg Nanny March 1, 2014 at 10:20 pm

The addition of sweet potato is genius! I’m always looking for ways to add a little more nutrition to my meals. Thank you so much for helping us kick off our Mac & Cheese Mania :)

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22 Tessa March 26, 2014 at 8:37 pm

Thought I would give this a try, especially since I could get some great vitamins in with the sweet potato, but it wasn’t a hit. It was a very heavy dish with the potato and the pasta, and the cheese is masked by the sweet potato.

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23 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) March 27, 2014 at 9:05 am

I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this, Tessa.

Reply

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