Healthy Mexican Mac and Cheese

This Healthy Mexican Mac and Cheese recipe is creamy, hearty, and super cheesy with delicious flavor throughout! It has just the right amount of kick and you’d never know it’s lightened up. This one will no doubt become a staple in your house!

Okay you guys. This is one of the recipes I created for my new macro-friendly, SAVORY cookbook that is coming out TOMORROW (July 29, which is actually my birthday! 😊) I have been wanting to share a teaser recipe from the cookbook to give y’all an idea of what else is to come. So without any further ado… meet this INSANELY creamy and delicious Healthy Mexican Mac and Cheese!!

This mac and cheese was one of the most highly requested recipes for me to share. It’s also my fiancé Simon’s favorite, and one of my handful of favorites too. It’s so hard to pick just ONE! 😂 I’m also featuring this one on the cover of the cookbook!!!

So, what does it taste like? Basically like a Mexican version of Hamburger Helper! It’s full of creamy cheese, rich tomato flavor, juicy ground turkey, seared peppers and onions, and has a little kick from the taco seasoning and chilies.

PLUS, it’s lightened up and no one will ever know!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS MEXICAN MAC AND CHEESE

  • It’s quick and easy to prepare.
  • Very popular recipe for kids and husbands.
  • It’s soooooo creamy and cheesy. I’m not exaggerating!
  • Protein packed from ground turkey and very macro-friendly.
  • Lower in calories and fat than your traditional mac and cheese recipe!
  • Only one pot required. Yay, easy clean up!
  • Great recipe to meal prep for the week.
  • You’ll NEVER get tired of this mac and cheese!

INGREDIENTS

  • Ground turkey – Ground beef or chicken would also work well in this recipe.
  • Elbow macaroni noodles – I used regular elbow noodles, but you can also use whole wheat, Banza chickpea pasta, or a gluten-free brand.
  • Cream cheese – I used Greek, or Neufchatel, cream cheese. You could also use fat-free, 1/3 reduced-fat, or full fat cream cheese. I can’t taste a difference between the four.
  • Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Diced tomatoes – I picked up a can from the grocery store.
  • Tomato sauce
  • Diced green chilies – For a nice little kick!
  • Taco seasoning
  • Broth – You could use vegetable, chicken, or beef.
  • Shredded cheese – I used reduced-fat Mexican shredded cheese, but any flavor would work.

HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY MEXICAN MAC AND CHEESE

  1. Place peppers, onions, and ground turkey in a large pot. Cook on medium-high heat until the turkey is browned and the vegetables are tender.
  2. Add taco seasoning, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, water, and broth. Allow liquid to boil then reduce to low heat. Stir in the pasta and cook uncovered for 10–12 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and liquid has reduced down. Note there should be a little of the liquid left for creamy macaroni and cheese but not a lot. Pasta cooking times will vary. Cook until most (but not all) of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add in the cream cheese and shredded cheese. Stir until melted.
  4. Let cool. Then, serve up!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Is this Mexican Mac and Cheese spicy?

This mac and cheese is mild! Just the right amount of kick without making it too spicy. The spice comes from the taco seasoning, so if you’re worried about it being too much, you can always add 2 tablespoons instead of 3.

I can’t find Greek (Neufchatel) cream cheese at my grocery store. Will normal cream cheese work?

Yes! Fat-free, 1/3 reduced-fat, or full fat cream cheese all work great in this recipe.

How to make Mac and cheese healthy?

This Mac and cheese is made healthier by replacing full-fat with low-fat cheese. Both low-fat cream cheese and reduced-fat shredded cheese are use in this recipe. There are also vegetables added which add fiber, volume, and nutrients. And ground turkey is added which gives this recipe a huge boost of protein!

WANT TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?

If you try this mexican mac and cheese and love it, please rate this recipe!

You can also tag me on Instagram, @LaurenFitFoodie. It makes my day seeing your yummy recreations!

Yield: 12

Healthy Mexican Mac and Cheese

Healthy Mexican Mac and Cheese

This Healthy Mexican Mac and Cheese recipe is creamy, hearty, and super cheesy with delicious flavor throughout! It has just the right amount of kick and you'd never know it's lightened up. This one will no doubt become a staple in your house!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. raw 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (120g)
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, diced (130g)
  • 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 4.5-oz. can diced green chilies
  • 3 Tbsp taco seasoning
  • 16-oz. elbow noodles, dry
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups broth (beef, chicken or vegetable broth)
  • 8-oz. Greek yogurt cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup reduced-fat shredded Mexican or cheddar cheese (112g)

Instructions

  1. Place peppers, onions, and ground turkey in a large pot sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cook on medium-high heat until the turkey is browned and the onions are tender.
  2. Add taco seasoning, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, water, and broth. Allow liquid to boil then reduce to low heat. Stir in the pasta and cook uncovered for 10–12 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and liquid has reduced down. Note there should be a little of the liquid left for creamy macaroni and cheese but not a lot. Pasta cooking times will vary. Cook until most (but not all) of the liquid has evaporated.
  3. Add in the cream cheese and shredded cheese and stir until melted.

Notes

MFP entry: LFF Mexican Mac and Cheese

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

246g

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 5.4gSaturated Fat: 2.5gCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2.4gSugar: 5.9gProtein: 20.8g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @LaurenFitFoodie! 

8 Comments

  1. Is this maybe missing a step? Are we supposed to bring to a boil first, and then cut the heat to low?? I followed your directions and the consistency/liquid didn’t change and the pasta wasn’t even close to being cooked for a loooong time. After about 25 minutes on low, I bumped up the temp so it would boil for several minutes and the liquid finally started to absorb. Tips?? Thanks!

  2. Made this tonight and it was delicious. I think I was short of the 3 TBS taco seasoning ( i just used a packet) so ended up just adding some extra chili powder and garlic powder. I did not have any issues with extra liquid. I’m wondering if people are using only 1 (8 oz) banza pasta rather than the 2 (16 oz) that the recipe calls for?
    For sure will make this again.

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