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Macaroni & Cheese With Swiss Chard

Updated on June 29, 2017
Sara Krentz profile image

Sara doesn't always feel like spending hours in the kitchen. On such occasions, she prepares a simple, fast, healthy meal.

Mac & Cheese for Grown-Ups

Here's a healthier version of a favorite comfort food. Using low-fat dairy items cuts down on calories while delivering the same amount of protein. The Swiss chard adds a bit of fiber and some color. The best thing about this dish is that it's easy to prepare, and you can have it on the table in under half an hour. A quick and easy one-pot meal; this recipe is ideal for a weeknight dinner.

Macaroni & Cheese with Swiss Chard
Macaroni & Cheese with Swiss Chard | Source

For a balanced vegetarian meal, serve your mac & cheese with a green salad or steamed vegetables and whole grain rolls.

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 package whole wheat rotini, (or other small pasta shapes)
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese
  • 2 ounces low-fat sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2 ounces low-fat smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup diced tomatoes, (optional)
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce

How to Prepare Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamin K.

Chopped Chard
Chopped Chard | Source

Cooking Instructions

  1. Fill a stock pot about half full with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for about 4 minutes. Stir in Swiss chard (and mushrooms, if using), and cook for another 2 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Return pot to medium-low heat. Add milk, cheeses, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Stir until melted. Add pasta (and tomatoes, if using), stir well until coated and heated through.
Diced-Tomatoes
Diced-Tomatoes | Source

Tips & Tricks

  • If you’re not in a hurry, after mixing in the cheeses, I recommend transferring the mixture to a greased casserole dish and baking it uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. This step is not necessary, but it makes this wonderful pasta dish even more delicious. One caveat is that it tends to dry out the pasta, so you will need to add more milk to the mixture prior to popping it in the oven.
  • As for the Swiss chard, I usually use the kind with red stalks, but the chard with the green stalks doesn't taste much different. It also comes in a multi-colored stalk variety. Some supermarkets carry only one type, so it may vary by region. Our local chain grocery store carries chard in organic and non, and sometimes the organic costs less.
  • For anyone who has never cooked with chard before, and may be unsure of how to wash and prep it, see the short video clip above. Chard is very easy to prepare and cook.
  • Not sure how to use the leftover chard? I used some in an omelet the next morning instead of spinach. I was worried the flavor would be too strong, but my husband and I both enjoyed it. Another suggestion for preparing leftover chard is to saute it in olive oil to serve as a side dish with a meal.

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Mac & Cheese with Chard and Tomatoes
Mac & Cheese with Chard and Tomatoes | Source

© 2017 Sara Krentz

Comments

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  • Sara Krentz profile image
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    Sara Krentz 4 months ago from USA

    Thank you for the wonderful suggestions. I'll have to try it in quinoa; that sounds like a nice combination.

  • Spanish Food profile image

    Lena Durante 4 months ago from San Francisco Bay Area

    Chard is such a versatile ingredient. I grow it in the back yard and throw it in everything: eggs, pasta, quinoa, stir fry, and even on top of pizza!

    Since the stems have a lot of fiber and I hate food waste, I always chop them up separately and cook them a little before adding the greens. This allows them to soften and be less tough in your final dish.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing! You can never have too many recipes for Swiss chard.

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    Jakiyla Jordan 4 months ago

    it looks so good i wisj i had some