Spice up the regular mac and cheese and make it macaroni Indian style instead. This Masala Macaroni recipe still includes all the creamy cheese but adds some Indian spices and veggies as well to make it a real desi macaroni. You can even alter the spices so you can have a more traditional mac and cheese with some or add much more of the garam masala or chile to make a spicy macaroni recipe.
Tips for making this Indian Mac and Cheese and little healthier (If you want):
A healthier masala mac and cheese uses lentil pasta (if you want) and DOES NOT require all-purpose flour. Both of these swaps make for a healthier version of the best comfort food ever. There is of course still a good amount of cheese and creaminess. Here are some notes on the ingredients including substitutes:
- Lentil pasta– This recipes uses lentil pasta because it is lower in carbs than regular pasta. In fact, I usually only buy lentil pasta these days. If you use any substitutes instead such as whole wheat, regular or brown rice pasta the recipe should still work out fine. Whichever pasta you use make sure to cook exactly according to the instructions on the box and stop cooking about a minute or two under the cooking time. This is because the pasta will cook further in the milk and cheese mixture.
- Cheese– This recipe uses medium cheddar. The medium cheddar provides a good cheesy taste while still absorbing the masala spices well. I am a big proponent of using what you have however so if you have sharp cheddar it should work fine. If you want to use a white cheese I would suggest something mild that melts well.
- Chickpea flour (Besan)– Chickpea flour is used to make a roux in this recipe to thicken the cheese and milk sauce. Most recipes use all-purpose flour. I use the chickpea flour as a way to avoid all-purpose flour but if this is what you have it will work well. You can still use all purpose flour or wheat flour if you like.
- Garam Masala– Depending on how old, which brand etc. your garam masala is you may need to alter the amount a bit.
- Olive oil– Olive is also used as a healthier option in this recipe. If you prefer to use butter that is fine.
Healthier Masala Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz box lentil pasta You can use any pasta (whole wheat, regular, brown rice)
- 1 tblsp plus 1 tsp oil
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 medium red onion Chopped in medium slices. You can use a white or yellow onion instead.
- 1 medium to large bell pepper chopped into medium or large slices. You can use any color. I used mini peppers to equal one large bell pepper.
- 1 1/2 tblsp chickpea flour
- 2 cups mild cheddar cheese You can use other types of cheese. See notes in blog post.
- 1/4-1/2 tsp salt, plus 1/4 tsp extra salt. depending on taste.
- 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper depending on taste.
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder You can use garlic if you do not have garlic powder.
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- Start boiling water for pasta. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it exactly according to the package ingredients. During the later steps remember to drain and rinse the pasta once it is done.
- Add 1 tsp oil to pan. Turn on heat to med. Once the oil is hot, add the the onions, lower heat a bit and stir as needed.
- Once the onions are softer (about 5 min) add the bell pepper, cumin and 1/4 tsp salt and stir as needed. During this time remember to drain and rinse your pasta once it is done cooking according to package instructions. When the onion and bell pepper are both softer, turn the heat to very low and let it sit until you add it to the cheese sauce later. Stir as needed until the heat lowers.
- Add the 1 tblsp pasta to a separate pan and turn on heat to medium.
- Once the oil is hot, add the chickpea flour and stir into a roux.
- Add the milk, turmeric, and garlic powder and stir. Turn up heat as needed to bring the milk to a boil
- Once the milk is boiling, lower the heat a bit so that it is still on a light boil but not sputtering. start adding the cheese, about a handful at a time and stir after each handful.
- After you add all the cheese and stir, the mixture should be thicker. Add the garam masala and salt and stir. It should still be slightly boiling at this point.
- Lower the heat. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir and let it cook for a couple minutes.
- Add the onion and bell pepper mix to the cheese and pasta. You can either mix it in or just add it on top.
- Serve while hot.