Baked Protein Mac and Cheese (Low Calorie)

If you’re looking for a healthier version of mac and cheese, look no further than this Baked Protein Mac and Cheese! Made with whole wheat pasta, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, this dish is packed with protein and will keep you full for hours. 

Macro Breakdown & Calories

  • Calories: 460
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Protein: 44 g
  • Fat: 12 g

Ingredients

baked protein mac and cheese ingredients

Lentil Pasta

Lentil pasta is an excellent substitution for traditional wheat pasta. It is high in protein and fiber and has a lower glycemic index than wheat pasta, so that it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike quickly. You can also go for a different legume (like chickpeas).

Skim Milk

Skim milk is lower in calories and fat than whole milk but still contains all the nutrients your body needs. The milk works as a binder in this recipe and helps to make the sauce creamy. Almond milk is a great choice. Just use unsweetened almond milk so your dish isn’t too sweet.

Cottage Cheese

If you are looking for a lower-calorie option, you can use nonfat cottage cheese. Low-fat cottage cheese is full of protein and calcium, both essential for bone health. I would recommend whipping your cottage cheese beforehand for a creamier consistency.

Greek Yogurt

Low-fat Greek yogurt is an excellent protein, calcium, and probiotics source. It also adds a nice thick and creamy texture to this recipe. Make sure to choose plain yogurt so that no other flavors interfere with the dish. 

Seasoning

Onion powder and garlic powder are all great seasonings that add flavor to this dish. You can also add some salt and pepper to taste.

Cheddar Cheese

Low-fat cheddar cheese is a classic mac and cheese flavor, but you can use any type of cheese you like. I would recommend a sharp cheddar for the best flavor. I also used low-fat shredded cheese to make this a more protein-centered recipe.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese is a complex, salty cheese high in protein and fat. It compliments this dish and adds just a touch of rich flavor.

How To Make Baked Protein Mac and Cheese

Step 1

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then, cook the pasta in a large pot according to the box instructions. However, you may want to take it out of the water for 1-2 minutes before it’s ready to keep the pasta from getting soggy later.

How to make baked protein mac and cheese Step 1:  Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees. Then, cook the pasta in a large pot according to the box instructions.

Step 2

Drain the pasta when it’s ready and place it back in the pot. Turn the heat on super low and mix the milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and seasoning. As mentioned above, I’d whip the cottage cheese before mixing it in for an even creamier texture next time.

How to make baked protein mac and cheese Step 2a: Mix the milk, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and seasoning.

Step 3

Then, gradually mix the cheddar cheese and parmesan a little, so it doesn’t clump up. Once everything is mixed in, turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a baking dish.

How to make baked protein mac and cheese Step 3a:  Gradually mix the cheddar cheese and parmesan a little, so it doesn't clump up.
How to make baked protein mac and cheese Step 3b:  Once everything is mixed in, turn off the heat and pour the mixture into a baking dish.

Step 4

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve immediately and enjoy!

How to make baked protein mac and cheese Step 4a: Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes
How to make baked protein mac and cheese Step 4b: Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Customizations 

Swap The Pasta

  • Feel free to use any pasta you have on hand for this recipe. While lentil pasta is higher in protein, whole-wheat pasta offers fiber and some protein. 
  • You can also use different shapes of pasta, as well.

Change The Flavor

  • If you’re not a fan of cheddar cheese, you can use any other type of cheese in its place. I would recommend trying gouda, asiago, or another semi-hard cheese. 
  • If you like your mac and cheese with a little kick, try adding some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or hot sauce to the recipe. 
  • Add veggies to this recipe by adding cooked broccoli, spinach, or diced tomatoes. 
  • You can also top your mac and cheese with diced onions, peppers, or green onions.

How To Store & Meal Prep:

Baked protein mac and cheese (low calorie)

Store this recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop until warmed through. 

This recipe isn’t the best meal prep meal because I find the cheese can doesn’t always reheat evenly, but if you don’t mind the texture, it will make for a simple, high-protein lunch or dinner.

What To Read Next

Check out other High Protein 500 Calorie Recipes

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Baked protein mac and cheese (low calorie)

Baked Protein Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Kelsey Butler
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
Save Recipe

Description

This Baked Protein Mac and Cheese is made with whole wheat pasta, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt, this dish is packed with protein and will keep you full for hours.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 8 oz lentil pasta
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1.5 cups low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Add oats to a blender or food processor and blend until finely ground.

3. Then, add melted coconut oil, honey, and a dash of water.  Mix until crumbly and press into muffin tins

4. Bake the crust at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, add cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, protein powder, egg, monk fruit sweetener, and vanilla extract to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and pour over the crust.

6. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until set.

Notes

Store this recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop until warmed through.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Meal, Snack
  • Method: Bake

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 460 kcal
  • Fat: 12 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Protein: 44 g

About The Author

Kelsey Butler

Kelsey Butler is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master’s in Nutrition Sciences. She is an expert in nutrition research, coaching, content creation, and recipe development. Kelsey takes a mindful approach towards health and values building relationships with all foods. She understands the importance of providing recipes that anyone can enjoy, no matter their dietary needs. When she’s not focusing on nutrition, Kelsey has a passion for cooking, the outdoors, running, and travel.

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