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broccoli mac and cheese on a wooden plate

Broccoli Mac and Cheese Recipe

I used to make this recipe frequently when I was first starting to incorporate vegetables into my diet. Macaroni and cheese is relatively easy to digest on its own for those that can tolerate dairy, and it serves as a great vehicle to add vegetables.

When you can't eat raw vegetables

Cooking and pureeing the broccoli helps break down the fiber, which can make it easier to digest. You can always start with less broccoli than the recipe calls for and work the cheddar in as the recipe calls for. 

In the past, I would eat raw broccoli because I needed the nutrients, but I would end up running to the bathroom. With this recipe, the soft broccoli is easier for me to digest.   

This was a recipe I started using after I found myself in the emergency room because I had a bowel blockage. Why did I have a bowel blockage you might ask? Yep, I went crazy and ate 2 months of raw vegetables thinking my body can handle it. Do yourself a favor and stick to pureeing and cooking veggies!

I also find that cheddar is easier on my stomach. I know dairy and Crohn's can be tricky, but the cheddar is easier to digest than American or Swiss for me. But obviously, everyone is different.

Ingredients for broccoli mac and cheese

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 2 cups cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets OR 1 bag frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 box pasta (macaroni or shells)
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for broccoli mac and cheese

  1. Place a large pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil while you begin making the sauce.
  2. Separately, cook the broccoli florets, either in the microwave or in boiling water until tender. (This can also be done in advance.)
  3. In another, medium-sized pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
  4. Once melted, add the flour and mix to combine. Allow this mixture to cook for 1-2 minutes, until golden in color, whisking occasionally.
  5. Carefully add the milk and whisk to combine. Continue cooking over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the milk begins to thicken.
  6. Turn heat off and remove the pot from heat. Add the cheese in two parts, whisking to incorporate fully into the sauce.
  7. Mix in the mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.
  8. By this time, your water should have boiled. Add the pasta and cook for 7 – 8 minutes, or according to the package directions.
  9. While the pasta is cooking, place the cooked broccoli into a blender. Carefully pour the sauce over the broccoli. Place the lid on the blender and blend over low speed until the broccoli is broken up. Tip: Place a small towel over the lid of the blender in case it spatters, since the sauce is hot. There should be no chunks of broccoli left and the sauce will have green speckles throughout. Set aside until the pasta is ready.
  10. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it through a colander but do not rinse. Return the pasta to the pot.
  11. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix to combine.

Crohn's and ulcerative colitis recipes

When it comes to cooking with IBD, we're all working from a different set of ingredients. Food sensitivities and dietary restrictions vary greatly from person to person, and there is no one diet recommended for Crohn's or ulcerative colitis. Check out our full list of recipes for more ideas – all from people who cook, eat, and live with IBD!

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Nutrition facts

Per Serving

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