Today on the blog a dish that’s not only quick to make it’s full of colour and flavour – Beetroot Macaroni Cheese with Grilled Zucchini.
When it comes to quick and easy meals pasta is usually my first choice. It cooks in minutes and can be combined with a huge variety of ingredients, not necessarily including tomatoes. Or a heavy cheese sauce. Even if it is a macaroni cheese recipe. I’ve made several healthier versions of macaroni cheese in the past (see my Low Fat Spinach Macaroni Cheese and Buckwheat Macaroni Cheese) but this one is not only healthy, it’s infused with the vibrant colour and flavour of beetroot. This amazing vegetable is a constant source of inspiration for me and if you aren’t a fan of beetroot yet perhaps these recipes will persuade you to use more beetroot in your cooking.
This recipe requires very few ingredients and no special cooking skills. Despite the fact the vegetables need to spend some time in the oven (I think roasting vegetables produces much better results than boiling them) this is still a quick and simple recipe, perfect as a mid-week vegetarian dinner idea. This is because both the pasta and the zucchini can be prepared whilst the other vegetables are in the oven so the entire dish can be ready in just over 30 minutes.
This Beetroot Macaroni Cheese with Grilled Zucchini is very low in fat, as the sauce is a mixture of vegetables and fromage frais (there is only 6g of fat per 100g fromage frais). I like to serve this dish with a handful of peppery, slightly nutty tasting rucola (rocket leaves) but you don’t have to. Any leftovers can be reheated the next day – the sauce is likely to thicken so you might have to add a drop of water, milk or a knob of butter to it.
Yields 4 portions
5 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 medium beetroot
- 1 medium red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3-4 small zucchini (courgettes)
- ½ cup fromage frais
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil (plus a little more for brushing)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Rucola (rocket leaves) for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6.
- Peel the beetroot, cut into 8 pieces each, and place in a medium baking dish. Peel the garlic and add to the beetroot. Peel the onion, cut into 6 wedges and place in the baking dish. Season the vegetables and drizzle with 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Bake for 35 minutes stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven, place in a blender (together with the juices), add the fromage frais and blitz until the mixture is smooth.
- Whilst the vegetables are in the oven boil the macaroni in salted water with the bay leaf. Drain and set aside.
- Cut the zucchini lengthways into 4 strips, season and brush with a little oil, and fry in a griddle pan for a couple of minutes on each side.
- Combine the beetroot mixture with the macaroni, adjust the seasoning, stir through a handful of rocket leaves (optional) and serve alongside the grilled zucchini.