Photo: John Autry; Styling: Leigh Ann Ross
Serves 6 (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)

This baked macaroni and cheese casserole contains three different types of cheeses and a topping of crisp breadcrumbs. This dish has plenty of protein for a meat-free main dish. 

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 375°.

Step 2

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place in a large bowl.

Step 3

Place cottage cheese in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Add the cheese mixture to pasta, and stir well. Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Step 4

Combine remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, panko, and parsley in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes.

Step 5

Preheat broiler (do not remove dish from the oven).

Step 6

Broil pasta 1 minute or until top browns.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Ratings & Reviews

tammyfaust's Review

November 22, 2011
With a little tweaking,this recipe was great! I reduced the amount of pasta a bit, added some chunks of smoked ham ( to make it more of a dinner entree) and a little fat free 1/2 & 1/2 to make it creamy. The cooking time was way off though. I baked as indicated for 10 minutes, but was still just luke warm. I then increased the time incrementally by 10 minutes for a total of 35 minutes. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, I covered the casserole w/ foil. I also baked this in a 9x9 glass dish. Keeping the casserole thicker and w/ the foil covering, kept it moister. I serve this w/ canned chopped tomatoes to put on top. This recipe now will replace the standard, high calorie, high fat mac & cheese my family made. My son really loved it too!

SoleilVA's Review

March 30, 2012
I think this is pretty good - would have given it a 3.5 if possible. It's not ever going to taste like full fat mac and cheese, but it's a decent substitute that can actually be hard to stop eating. The sauce has a tangy flavor, which my husband and I liked, and we kind of wanted to keep eating but stopped at one portion each. (OK, plus a few extra noodles for me when I put it away.) I found it very easy to make and I've made it twice; agree it can be dry/bland and have some tips on preparation: 1) Leave the cottage cheese in the food processor a long time, let it get really smooth and liquid-like. 2) Use a really good cheddar. I could tell the difference when I used a better one. 3) Use Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan; it has more salt and flavor. 4) When you drain the pasta, save some of the water and add it to the cheese/pasta mixture while combining. This will help it stay more sauced and creamy in the oven. 5) Use the 11 x 17 dish. The depth is important for moisture.

emestevez's Review

August 15, 2012
I was very skeptical at first, but have made this dish on repeated occasions. My husband and I both love it. My grocery store doesn't sell 12oz containers of cottage cheese; only 16 oz containers, so I end up putting all 16 oz in (otherwise the leftover 4 oz would go to waste). Maybe that's why I didn't have a similar experience with the dryness. I also throw a garlic clove in the food processor. This dish definitely tastes better than it looks!

BBecker7686's Review

December 03, 2011
I added a little Harvey cream since I had it on hand, so it was not dry. I think it's worth making again. My son, who is not a big fan of mac and cheese, loved it.

cshgt1's Review

November 04, 2011
I agree CL has better mac and cheese recipes but this one was good. Kids asked for more. I made with 1% cottage cheese, and had 3 pieces of left over cooked bacon I sprinkled on top. Added nice flavor, but pretty sure that changes it to Cooking FAT! :)

hcwood's Review

December 19, 2011
I was skeptical, but this recipe turned out really yummy! When I processed the cottage cheese I added a scoop of minced garlic, which really added a lot of flavor. My husband who is not a fan of healthy alternatives loved it! Will definitely make again, thanks for the recipe!

greenshamrock's Review

October 26, 2011
I made this exactly as written except I did not have Panko so I used regular italian season flavored bread crumbs. This was delicious and so incredibly easy to make. My kids and husband loved it.

PatriciaH6911's Review

October 28, 2011

Emz101's Review

July 06, 2013
This recipe wasn't bad with some additions, but since I don't really like pasta I probably wouldn't make it again. I added 2 cloves of garlic, garlic salt, extra pepper, asparagus in with the pasta and tomatos on top and I found it very flavorful. I had never eaten cottage cheese and it wasn't as gross as I thought it would be. I didn't find it dry or flavorless at all but that could be because of everything I added to it.

dinkydoo's Review

November 18, 2011
Very bland, best part was the crunchy topping.