ARTICLE / NEW RECIPES

Recipe: Better-For-You Bacon Swiss Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is classic comfort food. This recipe has a few healthy modifications so that you aren't mentally doing jumping jacks for every bite you take.

With lower-fat ingredients, whole wheat pasta, and turkey bacon, this bacon mac and cheese has a healthy twist. It's tasty enough to be a side dish, but wholesome enough to be a dinner-time main attraction.

Lightening The Way

This better-for-you mac n' cheese has some nutrition improvements, but doesn't compromise on taste. Here's how we did it:

Turkey bacon To make our mac and cheese a little different and a lot better, the first thing we did was add turkey bacon because we know that bacon makes just about everything better.

vanilla extract, unsalted butter, large egg, light brown sugar and 8 more
whole wheat pastry flour, egg, powdered sugar, ground nutmeg and 12 more
water, light corn syrup, cocoa nibs, walnuts, phyllo dough, butter and 3 more

However, we also know that bacon's not always the healthiest ingredient, so we used turkey bacon to lighten up this bacon mac and cheese recipe, but you're welcome to use regular pork bacon or vegetarian bacon instead.

Whole wheat noodles The second modification we made was trading regular macaroni for whole wheat noodles to add a bit more nutrition to the mac 'n' cheese. Whole wheat pasta can be polarizing but under a blanket of cheese and bacon, you don't really notice this healthy alternative.

olive oil, water, all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, large eggs and 1 more
whole wheat pasta, salt, walnuts, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and 6 more
coconut oil, old-fashioned rolled oats, chia seeds, ground cinnamon and 5 more

Swiss cheese The third adjustment was with cheese. The star cheese in this recipe is low-fat Swiss cheese, but it's supported by parmesan cheese. There's a little less fat and fewer calories in the Swiss cheese than the more commonly used American or cheddar cheese. And a little parmesan adds a lot of flavor.

baby bella mushrooms, shredded swiss cheese, minced garlic, minced garlic and 8 more
asiago cheese, swiss cheese, dinner rolls
eggs, milk, shredded swiss cheese, black pepper, cayenne, chopped parsley and 2 more

Buttermilk The last amendment made was with the milk. Many recipes call for whole milk for a rich cheese sauce, but we opted for buttermilk which is more flavorful and lower in fat and calories.

vanilla, butter, sugar, baking soda, corn syrup, buttermilk
unsweetened cocoa powder, buttermilk, all purpose flour, buttermilk and 12 more
unsalted butter, salt, honey, buttermilk, all purpose flour, baking powder

Cooking Clarifications

Homemade macaroni and cheese is a bit more involved than the stuff you get in the blue box, so if this is your first time making it from scratch, here are a few clarifications:

Boiling noodles Pay attention to the package directions for the pasta. Different pastas have different cook times, and with whole wheat pasta, it's especially important to stick to the cook time, because it overcooks to mush easily.

No roux, no problem Most homemade cheese sauces start with a roux. A roux is butter cooked with flour that's then used to thicken the sauce. This recipe skips that — the result is no butter and a streamlined cooking process.

No second cooking A typical mac and cheese recipe finishes with oven-baking. This stovetop-only version cuts down on cook time and goes straight to the table instead.

Cubed cheese This recipe calls for the Swiss cheese to be cut into cubes, but you can use pre-shredded cheese if you want to cut down on your total time in the kitchen.

Get Cooking

Now that you have the basics down, check out the full recipe right here.

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