Cozy up with a bowl of this cheesy and healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese with crispy roasted broccoli. This nutritious and rich dish is the perfect lighter version of classic mac and cheese: it’s creamy, gluten-free, and perfectly spiced!
Broccoli buffalo chicken mac & cheese
Buffalo chicken hot wings are probably my favorite appetizer. They are spicy, tasty, and absolutely perfect for game day (or any day for that matter). My favorite appetizer is this buffalo chicken flatbread, but when I need a more filling meal I make this!
This homemade mac and cheese is loaded with buffalo chicken and crispy roasted broccoli. It is gluten free, incredibly rich, and so addictive. No one will be able to tell it is a healthier version too!
Make this recipe any time of year and going to be a fan favorite! I love serving mine with a side of caesar salad or even enjoying it by itself. The gluten free buffalo mac and cheese is the perfect Sunday game day lunch or dinner.
How I made this recipe lighter & healthier:
It’s hard to tell this rich and cheesy buffalo mac and cheese is healthy. Here are four ways I made it lighter:
- Almond milk and chicken broth instead of heavy cream.
- Reduced the amount of butter.
- Added fresh crispy roasted broccoli.
- Used gluten free pasta.
You’ll only need a few, simple ingredients to get this gluten free mac and cheese recipe going! You’ll need uncooked chicken breasts. ora rotisserie chicken, broccoli, cheese, and of course, buffalo sauce!
- Fusilli or elbow pasta: Grab a box of your favorite gluten free or regular pasta.
- Chicken: You will need 2 medium sized skinless and boneless chicken breasts for this recipe.
- Buffalo sauce: Next, you will need 1/2 cup of your favorite buffalo sauce. You can use mild, medium, or hot!
- Broccoli: Grab 1 medium sized head of broccoli so we can crispy roast it and add it to the mac and cheese.
- Olive oil: 1 Tablespoon of olive oil helps saute the onions.
- Yellow onion: 1 yellow onion adds the best flavor.
- Butter: You just need a dash of unsalted butter to make this healthy mac and cheese super creamy and cheesy.
- All-purpose flour: Add in 2 Tablespoons of flour to help thicken this mac and cheese.
- Almond milk: To make this mac and cheese super saucy, we use unsweetened almond milk.
- Chicken or vegetable broth: This adds flavor and makes the cheesy sauce extra rich.
- Shredded sharp cheddar: The star of the show. We need 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese.
- Salt & black pepper: Adjust to your taste prefference.
Kitchen Tools Needed
For this easy recipe, you’ll only need a couple of kitchen tools making the clean up super easy. Here is a quick list of what you need:
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Baking tray
- Large saute pan
- Large & deep pot
- Stirring utensil
- Two forks
- Measuring cups: 1 teaspoon 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to make healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese
My favorite thing about this healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese (besides the taste of course) is how easy it is to make! This recipe takes 30 minutes from start to finish.
Step 1: First, preheat your oven to 425F. Then, line and grease a baking tray.
Step 2: After that, prepare the pasta according to the package. Drain and rinse with cold water to keep the pasta from sticking together. Then set aside.
Step 3: Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F or is no longer pink in the center. This should take about 12 to 16 minutes. Once done, remove the chicken from water and use two forks to shred the chicken. Add in the buffalo sauce and mix until everything is generously coated. Set to the side.
Step 4: Meanwhile, prepare the medium-sized broccoli florets, spray with avocado oil or drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes. Set to the side when done.
Step 5: While the broccoli is cooking, place a large skillet on the stovetop. Heat to medium and melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes stirring with a whisk.
Step 6: Next, add in the minced onion and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, almond milk, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking. Increase heat to medium-high, bring the mixture to boil, cook for 5 minutes until becomes smooth and thick.
Step 7: Once thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste then add in cooked macaroni, roasted broccoli florets, and buffalo chicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Enjoy your delicious gluten free buffalo mac and cheese with roasted broccoli!
Easy ingredient substitutions
I love simple and easy recipes! If you don’t love every ingredient in this one, I am here to help you out with a list of the very best substitutions:
- Almond milk: substitute for any milk of your choice.
- Yellow onion: substitute with white or red onion.
- Cheddar cheese: substitute for any type of shredded cheese; pick your favorite!
- Chicken breasts: if you don’t want to cook chicken, buy a rotisserie chicken and shred it up. You will need 2 cups worth.
Fequently Asked Questions
Is it gluten free?
Yes, this mac and cheese is gluten free since we use brown rice pasta and gluten free flour.
Can I use rotisserie chicken?
Yes! If you don’t want to cook the chicken, simply buy a rotisserie chicken and shred up the breasts with two forks. You will need about 2 cups worth of shredded chicken.
How to store and reheat leftovers
Storing: Place leftovers into one large or individual airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days.
Reheating: Place in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat for 30 – 90 seconds until warm. Or reheat the entire baking dish in the oven at 350°F for 10 – 15 minutes until warm.
Check out more dinner recipes!
Did you make this recipe?
If you make this recipe, be sure to comment and rate it down below. Also, don’t forget to tag me @healthfulblondie on Instagram and use the hashtag #healthfulblondie so I can see your delicious creation and share it with my followers!
Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mac And Cheese
- 12 fusilli or elbow pasta
- 2 medium chicken breasts
- ⅓ cup medium buffalo sauce, more to taste
- 12 oz fresh broccoli florets, one medium head
- 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- ¼ cup yellow onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, gluten free if needed
- 1 + 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, or vegan cheddar
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line and grease a baking tray.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water to keep the pasta from sticking together. Set to the side.
- Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F or is no longer pink in the center. About 12 to 16 minutes. Remove chicken from water and use two forks to shred chicken. Add in buffalo sauce. Set to the side.
- Meanwhile, prepare medium size broccoli florets, spray with avocado oil, or drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes. Set to the side when done.
- While the brocolli is roasting, place a large skillet on the stovetop. Heat to medium and melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes stirring with a whisk.
- Add minced onion and cook for another 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, almond milk, salt, and pepper. Continue whisking. Increase heat to medium-high, bring the mixture to boil, cook for 5 minutes until becomes smooth and thick.
- Once thick, remove from heat, add cheese and mix until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Add in cooked macaroni, roasted broccoli florets, and buffalo chicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
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