protein-packed broccoli mac and cheese

enjoy from the pot or with the crunchy (broccoli!) breadcrumb topper.
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protein-packed broccoli mac and cheese

see it in action…

protein-packed broccoli mac and cheese



  • 8 ounces short protein pasta noodle (I use Barilla Protein Plus elbow noodles)
  • head broccoli, cut into bite-size florets (3-4 cups), divided
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (I use whole milk Good Culture)
  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk (I use Fairlife)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (3/4 cup), divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • pinch cayenne pepper


  • Heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Two minutes before it’s done, add MOST of the broccoli (reserve a handful of florets). Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, blitz remaining broccoli in a high-speed blender until crumbly. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the panko, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
  • Rinse out the blender. Add the cottage cheese, milk, cornstarch, cheddar, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, mustard, garlic powder, salt, several grinds black pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the now-empty pasta pot over medium-low heat. Add the sauce and cook until gently bubbling and beginning to thicken, 4 to 5 minutes. (Do not increase the heat!) Remove from the heat, wait for the bubbling to stop, and then stir in the pasta and broccoli. Taste and season with more salt as needed.
  • Transfer to a greased 2-quart baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan, followed by the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake until bubbling and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
Inspired by Lauren Fit Foodie and Heidi Swanson. 



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