Is there any dish more popular across generations that macaroni and cheese? You find it everywhere from school cafeterias to fancy restaurants to weekend cookouts. Kids love it. Adults love it. Plus, you can make so many variations of this favorite dish. That’s where this Healthy Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese began.
Like you, I love a good bowl of macaroni and cheese hot from the oven. It’s the perfect comfort food for a rainy night. And while I don’t have anything against those boxes of mac and cheese and their flavor packets that come from the store, it’s an easy enough dish to make at home, and the difference is notable. There’s just no competition between a packet of powdered cheese and a freshly grated block of cheddar.
But I digress. Plain macaroni and cheese is tasty, delicious, and classic. Sometimes, though, you want to change things up, especially if you’re looking to add some additional nutritional value to your meal. One of the tastiest ways I’ve found to do that is by making this Healthy Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese.
This recipe is loaded with healthy additions like protein-rich crab, which is loaded with important omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. The fresh cauliflower is a great source of fiber and vitamins B6, C, and K. Of course, let’s not forget that crab and cauliflower are both delicious!
There’s a special ingredient that brings everything together and pushes this Healthy Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese to the next level: Old Bay Seasoning. The unmistakable blend of herbs spices brings a touch of peppery spice to this dish that can’t be beat. We went a little light on the Old Bay in the recipe, since it can get a bit spicy, but feel free to sprinkle on more if you like. After all, Old Bay, crab, cauliflower, and mac and cheese are a match made in food heaven!Print
Healthy Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a favorite for kids and adults, but when you want to change things up, this Healthy Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese is the ticket.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4-6 1x
- Category: Entrées
- Cauliflower Purée
- 2 cups roughly chopped cauliflower
- 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- Crab Mixture
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- Salt and pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crabmeat, picked through for shells
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- 3 1/2 cups cooked macaroni (about 2 cups dry)
- 2 cups bite-size pieces steamed cauliflower
- 1 1/3 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
- A couple of tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth, if needed
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
- For the cauliﬂower purée: Place the cauliﬂower and chicken in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cauliﬂower is very tender. Carefully transfer to a blender and pulse until smooth. Measure out 1 cup of purée and set aside the remainder for another use.
- For the crab mixture: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 8 × 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter, and cook until it melts. Add the bell pepper, celery, and onion, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the veggies until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic and let cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Gently stir in the crabmeat, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, and lemon zest. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
- For the mac ’n’ cheese: Add the cooked macaroni, cauliﬂower purée, chopped cauliﬂower, cheddar cheese, and a pinch of salt to the crab mixture. Stir until the cheese is melted and everything is combined. Add chicken broth if the mixture seems too dry. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the panko over the top and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Bake for 15 minutes, uncovered until the bread crumbs are golden brown and everything is bubbling. Serve
Keywords: crab, mac 'n' cheese
Have you made this Healthy Crab Mac ‘n’ Cheese recipe? How did it turn out?