Craving a high protein mac and cheese recipe that's silky, creamy, and cheesy? One secret ingredient in this pasta recipe adds silkiness and protein without changing the taste of this delicious macaroni and cheese. This Lemon Carbonara is another great, silky cheesy pasta recipe.
This post was originally created in partnership with The Soyfoods Council. I have been compensated for my time commitment. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.
[This recipe was originally posted in April 2019. It has been updated with new cooking instructions, expert tips, FAQ, related recipes, and ways to repurpose/use up ingredients]
How will this protein mac & cheese make your life easier?
All you need for this easy mac & cheese is a blender, a couple measuring cups/spoons, and a medium sized pot to cook the pasta. This recipe is low maintenance, low effort, and high payoff. It's delicious, creamy, cheesy, and has more protein than traditional mac & cheese since there isn't much protein in cheese.
The tofu adds 4-6 grams of protein without changing the flavor. That way we all can enjoy an easy pasta dish with protein already in it. You can always add veggies to the mac & cheese or on the side, or not, depending on what you're feeling.
What makes it so good?
- Elbow macaroni
- Silken tofu
- Garlic salt
- Cheddar cheese
How do I make protein mac & cheese?
The first step is to cook ⅔ c dry elbow noodles according to box directions, add 1 tsp salt to pasta water.
Next, prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking. Add ¼ block of silken tofu, ¼ c milk, and ¼ tsp garlic salt to a blender. Blend until smooth and silky. Set aside.
Once pasta is al dente, drain water. Return the pasta to cooking pot. Pour tofu and milk mixture over the pasta. Then add 1 tsp butter and ⅔ c cheddar cheese over the warm pasta. Stir it all together with a fork until the pasta is completely coated with tofu mixture and cheese is melted and smooth. Serve immediately.
- Or if you want to add some veggies, add frozen veggies to the cooking pasta when it's got about 2-3 minutes left to cook-to save a dish.
- If you've made extra or have leftovers, to avoid that weird reheated pasta texture, add a dash of milk to your pasta after heating it up. Stir well, and your cheese will become creamy once again, and delicious.
Is Mac & Cheese good protein?
Traditional mac & cheese has some protein in it. A bit from the cheese, a bit from the pasta, and a bit more from the milk you add to make it really creamy. Since there isn't much protein in cheese or pasta, this dish isn't a great source of protein. That's why I add tofu to it. Tofu is a good source of protein. It's easy to add and doesn't change the flavor of them mac & cheese.
What is mac and cheese a good side for?
I personally like macaroni and cheese as my main dish. Pasta is my favorite. But if you want it as a side, I recommend eating it with grilled meat, like this Grilled Lamb Steak. Or serve it with your favorite type of BBQ, like my lazy hack Pulled Pork + BBQ sauce.
What can I add to mac & cheese to make it healthier?
As a non-diet dietitian, I don't recommend focusing on healthifying foods unless you truly like the flavor and enjoy those foods. Swapping the cheese for vegetables or just cutting down on the cheese completely changes the dish. And if you want mac & cheese, anything other than creamy, cheesy pasta will leave you disappointed. If you do want to add in some protein or vegetables, this recipe is great (b/c added protein!) and you can add some broccoli or another vegetable to the cooking pasta. No need to hide vegetables in your dinner, just add some if you like them and move on with your life! If you're curious about this approach to eating, read about it more here.
What can I make with leftover ingredients?
- Tofu: Instant Pot Sweet Potato Soup
- Cheese: Buffalo Chicken Flatbread, Steak & Shrimp Fajitas, or this Brisket Grilled Cheese
Did you make this protein mac & cheese? Leave me a comment & rating to share how it turned out!
Protein Mac and Cheese
- Medium Pot
- High powered blender
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- rubber spatula
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ cup elbow macaroni
- ¼ whole block of silken tofu
- ¼ cup milk I used 2%, you can use any %age
- ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon butter
- ⅔ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Bring water and salt (1 tsp) to a boil, in a medium sized pot, over medium-high heat. Cook pasta in this water according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, add tofu (¼ package), milk (¼ c), and garlic salt (¼ tsp) to blender, and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Once pasta is al dente, drain water. Return pasta to cooking pot, pour tofu, milk mixture over pasta, butter (1 tsp), and sprinkle cheese (⅔ c) over pasta. Stir together until pasta is coated, and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
- Add your favorite vegetables to the mac and cheese, or have on the side
- If you're reheating the macaroni, add a dash of milk and stir together to make it creamy again.
Recipes are great, but you’ll need a simple 3 step process to create a meal plan that make cooking easy & helps you stop wasting food. Check out this expertly developed meal planning guide to get started.