Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Zesty Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This zesty baked Macaroni and Cheese is a flavorful vegetarian pasta dish just perfect to lift up your mood on a lazy afternoon. With refreshing citrus flavors from the lemon zest and lemon juice, the herbs and the creamy homemade cheese sauce, this Mac and cheese is a delightful treat for all ages. I have baked this zesty Macaroni and Cheese in ramekins for the ease of individual serving. I have used whole wheat flour instead of refined flour to make the cheese sauce.                                                                                                                                                  

What is Mac and Cheese?

Mac and Cheese is a classic combination of cooked macaroni pasta with creamy cheese sauce. This dish is referred to as Mac and Cheese in the United States and Macaroni and Cheese in the United Kingdom. It is considered as a comfort food in the United States. Meat, vegetables and bread crumbs may or may not be added to the Mac and Cheese.

Dietary Notes: This Zesty Baked Macaroni and Cheese is
  • Kid Friendly
  • Delicious side dish
  • Vegetarian meal
  • Healthy and Flavorful
  • Easy to make

Lemon Zest:

 Zest is a food ingredient prepared by scrapping the rind(outermost layer) of Citrus fruits like, lemon, orange, lime. It is used to flavor the food. Zest adds lovely refreshing citrus flavor to the bakes, salads and to the dishes it is being added. You get special scrappers to get the zest. I simply use a vegetable peeler to get the zest.

Related Event: A to Z Recipe Challenge Group with Alphabet "Z"

This healthy and flavorful Zesty baked Macaroni and Cheese is featured in the A to Z recipe challenge group on Facebook where i post every month with a key ingredient having particular alphabet. Going by the alphabetical order , for the month of June we had to cook a dish starting with Alphabet "Z". I chose Zest as my key ingredient and this Zesty baked Mac and cheese is my humble contribution towards the theme. This A to Z recipe challenge is very close to my heart and it is difficult to accept the fact that this challenge has ended Today with the last key ingredient Z. You may want to look at my other contributions in this series.


Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

  • 2 cups macaroni pasta
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  •  Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon.
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Herbs of your choice, fresh or dried
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  1. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius /390 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place 4 ramekins on a baking sheet.  
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add few drops of Olive oil and pasta to boiling water.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. 
  5. Drain add remaining olive oil and toss the pasta and keep aside until use.

    6.  Heat 2 tablespoon butter in a sauce pan on low heat. When it starts bubbling, add the whole wheat flour and keep whisking. make sure you do not burn the flour.
   7.  Add cold milk to the butter flour mixture in batched and keep stirring continuously to ensure no lumps are form. Allow it to cook on low flame until it becomes thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. 
  8. Add shredded cheese and season it with salt, black pepper and mustard powder. Give a good stir and put off the flame. The sauce should look nice thick and creamy.

9. Stir the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and herbs (fresh or dried) to coat. You can enjoy a delightful creamy pasta at this stage as well. But we are going further and baking this pasta.
 10. ivide the macaroni and cheese evenly among the ramekins. 
 11. Add more grated cheese of desired. Sprinkle bread crumbs and add dried herbs and bake at 200 degrees Celsius until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs turn golden brown. It will take around 10-12 minutes.

Recipe Notes:
  • You can add some steamed veggies to the Mac and cheese for added nutrition.
  • You may add seasonings (herb or spice ) as per your taste. 
  •  Bread crumbs add a lovely crispy layer at the top, so try not to skip it.
  • Baking the Macaroni and Cheese is optional. I like it without baking, so i just mix the cooked macaroni with creamy sauce and enjoy it as it is, however my son loves the baked version.

Would love to hear from you !

I hope you would love trying out this healthy and flavorful Zesty Baked Macaroni and Cheese. If you do so, feel free to share your feedback with use in the form of likes and comments in the section below this post.

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See you soon with yet another healthy and delicious creation from my Kitchen. Until then Stay safe and eat right !


Happy Cooking !

Happy Eating !



Poonam Bachhav 

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