Rainbow chard, turkey, and Gruyère skinny macaroni and cheese is a healthier macaroni and cheese alternative, packed full of lean protein and healthy greens. Plus a secret ingredient to make it extra creamy!

Partial view of stainless steel Dutch oven containing baked skinny macaroni and cheese.

After yesterday’s very indulgent recipe (macaroni and cheese pizza!), it’s time for something a little lighter and easier on the waistline. It’s still mac and cheese but a recipe you can feel less guilty about eating.

This hearty and healthy macaroni and cheese is made using whole wheat pasta, colorful rainbow chard, lean ground turkey, and creamy flavorful Gruyère cheese. Sounds pretty healthy, right? The real secret to healthier macaroni and cheese is…….

…..beans!!! By adding a can of pureed white beans (cannellini or great Northern), this macaroni and cheese gets tons of added creaminess without needing massive quantities of butter or cheese.

As an additional bonus, the beans increase the protein content of the macaroni and cheese, along with other nutritional benefits like fiber, B vitamins, iron, and potassium.

Rainbow kale leaves on wooden deck.

Have you ever seen such beautiful rainbow chard in your life? And if that wasn’t good enough, this rainbow chard was delivered straight to my door! Open door, wash rainbow chard, make macaroni and cheese. It’s a wonderful life I live.

I mentioned Door to Door Organics in my introduction to Macaroni and Cheese Mania, but please bear with me as I sing their praises a bit more. When I signed up for Door to Door Organics months ago, I thought to myself, “Oh I’ll probably just do this once and then be done with it….it probably won’t be worth it….a waste of money.”

Door to Door Organics graphic.

Well, this cheap Dutch girl is here to tell you, I was wrong. From the moment I opened that first box, I was hooked! From the humongous onions to gorgeous greens and perfectly juicy blueberries and dark orange sweet potatoes, I am in love.

I even bumped up my every-other-week delivery to once per week. Before I started getting these deliveries, I would typically have to go to the store midweek to restock on produce just to get us through the rest of the week. And with two toddlers? Well, I’d rather not make an extra trip. And now I don’t have to do that any more. One more thing I don’t have to do = a happier Rachel.

Stainless steel Dutch oven containing mac and cheese.

 

Plus, I find much of my inspiration for recipes from food itself, specifically produce. When I see a beautiful bunch of rainbow carrots, beets, or parsnips, my mind starts going a million miles a minute about all the delicious things I could make with this beautiful produce.

This macaroni and cheese is no exception. It is completely inspired by the rainbow chard and is kind of a clean-out-the-fridge meal — one that turns out beautifully!

Enjoy this third recipe of Mac and Cheese Mania!

Mac and Cheese Mania logo

 

Craving something more decadent today? My macaroni and cheese mania co-host, Brandy, created Gorgonzola Bacon Macaroni and Cheese. (!!!!)

Mac and cheese in stainless steel Dutch oven.

Rainbow Chard, Turkey, and Gruyère Skinny Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A healthier macaroni and cheese alternative, packed full of lean protein and healthy greens. Plus a secret ingredient to make it extra creamy!

Ingredients

  • 13.25 ounce package of whole wheat pasta (macaroni or other small pasta)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • one 15.5 ounce can white beans (great northern or cannellini), drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard, stems removed from leaves — dice stems and roughly chop leaves — keep separate
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 8 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a blender, puree beans with chicken broth and milk and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and brown turkey, onions, and stems of chard until turkey is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant.
  4. Add leaves of chard and cover for 2-3 minutes or until chard is wilted. Add bean mixture and heat until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Reduce heat to low, stir in grated Gruyère and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Add cooked pasta and stir until everything is combined. Add nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper to taste, keeping in mind that you'll be adding Parmesan which increase saltiness a touch.
  6. Top with Parmesan cheese and bake for 45 minutes. Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 of 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 583Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 926mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 8gSugar: 2gProtein: 53g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

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Disclosure: I developed this recipe on behalf of Door to Door Organics but all opinions about Door to Door Organics are my own. I pay for the service with my own money and would do so regardless of if they sponsored this recipe, 10,000 recipes or zero recipes. What can I say? I love getting gorgeous rainbow chard delivered to my front door.