Who doesn’t love a good sweet potato? Well, my husband doesn’t. My dad doesn’t. My daughter doesn’t quite love them. But other than those three, I imagine everyone else in the world feels the same steadfast devotion to the sweet potato that I feel.
My go-to lunch since I graduated college has been a shrink-wrapped sweet potato, zapped in the microwave for 7 minutes, ready to eat. This is a healthy and clean meal, but as a teacher, I frequently do not have the time to waste 7 minutes microwaving my lunch. Besides, no one person in a faculty room should commandeer any one appliance for that long. Because I haven’t been getting my sweet potato fix at lunch time as frequently, I’ve tried to incorporate sweets into our dinner menu a few times a month. I’ve fallen in love with Eat Yourself Skinny’s Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash and often add sweet potatoes to the mix when I roast veggies. But that wasn’t enough.
I wanted a way to show my daughter that she actually loves sweet potatoes. That’s when I came across a sweet potato mac & cheese recipe that enticed me. It wasn’t as clean and healthful or as easy (too many pans!) as I liked, so I adapted it and came up with a recipe my family–and yours–will love! Plus, you can rest assured knowing the orange coloring in this cheese dish comes from a sweet potato and not from food coloring. This pairs perfectly with a small salad and my turkey meatloaf muffins. 🙂
- 1 box whole grain or brown rice elbow macaroni
- 1 large sweet potato
- 2 cups milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
- 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese (or cheese of your choice) +1/4 cup to top
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed
- *Preheat oven to 350º and spray a deep baking dish with nonstick coconut spray.
- Prepare macaroni per package instructions. Drain and set aside in the baking dish.
- Remove the skin from the sweet potato, stick with a fork in various places, and add to a pot of boiling water. Boil for 8-10 minutes, until very tender.
- Drain the water from the sweet potato pot and remove the sweet potato. Cut into large chunks and return to pot. Add one cup of milk, flour, half the cheese, and the garlic and simmer on low-medium heat. Continue to the add the rest of the milk and cheese until the mixture mostly liquefies.
- Blend contents with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender and combine into a sauce.
- Pour over the pasta, add in the peas, and stir to combine.
- If baking and serving immediately, top with a sprinkle of cheese and place in the oven for 7-10 minutes, or until cheese melts. Enjoy!
*If you are not serving immediately and prepping ahead, skip the baking until the night you plan to eat this. You may need to increase baking time to ensure dish is heated through.
Enjoy this ooey, gooey, hearty dish! I love reheating this and placing it in a thermos for my kids to have as a school lunch. Add a protein–like a cup of Greek yogurt–and a sliced apple, and you have a pretty complete lunch!
Please let me know below if you try this recipe. This recipe is also featured in my Clean Eating with Kids menu. If you’d like the full menu–recipes and shopping list included!–please leave your email below and subscribe! Thanks!