Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Cozy up with a delicious bowl of this cheesy healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese. This nutritious and rich dish is the perfect lighter version of a classic mac and cheese. It’s creamy, gluten-free, and perfectly spiced! Pair with your favorite pasta for a 30-minute comforting dinner or lunch.
The Best Ever Healthy Mac and Cheese with Buffalo Chicken
Buffalo chicken and hot wings are probably my favorite appetizer. They are spicy, juicy, and absolutely mouthwatering! Perfect for game day or any day for that matter. And what better pairing than a side of cheesy classic macaroni and cheese! A match made in heaven if you ask me.
On that note, I absolutely love homemade mac and cheese. It’s so much better than the boxed versions – the cheese is fresh and tastes 10 times better. And let me just tell you, this healthier mac and cheese recipe is not only lighter, but it will also be a hit with your friends, family, and kids. The buffalo sauce packs the perfect heat and the broccoli adds a great crunch and is the perfect way to sneak in some veggies, vitamins, and nutrients into your meal.
This creamy, filling, and fun recipe is perfect for this time of year and going to be a fan favorite! I love serving mide with a side cesear salad or enjoying it by itself. The perfect Sunday night game day dinner!
How I Made This Macaroni and Cheese Lighter and Healthier:
This saucy and healthy buffalo mac and cheese is rich and sure to be your go to dinner. Here are four ways that I made this mac and cheese more nutritious and health friendly without taking away from the taste!
- Used almond milk and chicken broth instead of heavy cream
- I shredded my own chicken by poaching it
- Reduced the amount of butter
- I added fresh roasted broccoli
Ingredients in Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
You’ll only need a few, simple ingredients to get this easy recipe going! I am all about simplicity and ease, so don’t worry, you won’t need to go to the supermarket and buy a lot of expensive ingredients and spices. You probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry already. For this easy dinner recipe, you’ll need organic chicken breast, broccoli, cheese, and of course, buffalo sauce!
- Fusilli or elbow pasta (I used Jovial gluten-free)
- Chicken breasts
- Medium buffalo sauce, more to taste (I used New Primal)
- Fresh broccoli florets
- Cooking spray or olive oil
- Yellow onion, minced
- Almond milk
- Chicken or Vegetable broth
- Shredded sharp cheddar, or vegan cheddar
- 1 tsp salt, more to taste
- 1 tsp black pepper
Easy Ingredient Substitutions for Light Mac & Cheese
You guys probably know by now that 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: Simply substitute for any milk of your choice.
Yellow onion: Substitute with a white or red onion.
Cheddar Cheese: Simply substitute for any type of shredded cheese you like the flavor of.
Make this easy dinner vegan! Just leave out the chicken and swap the cheese for a plant-based alternative.
Looking for other tasty lunch and dinner recipes? Check these out!
What You’ll Need to Make Buffalo Mac and Cheese
For this easy recipe, you’ll only need a couple of kitchen tools making the clean up super easy! You’ll need a pot to cook the pasta and sauce pot to make the mac and cheese.
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Baking tray
- One large saute pan
- Two deep pots
- Stirring utensil
- Two forks
- Measuring cups: 1 tsp, 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, and 1 cup.
How to Make the Best Ever Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese
My favorite thing about this simple and easy macaroni and cheese recipe (besides the taste of course) is how easy it is to make! This recipe takes 30 minutes from start to finish and is absolutely perfect for healthy family dinners!
First, preheat your oven to 425F, line and grease a baking tray, and prepare the pasta according to package. Drain and rinse with cold water to keep the pasta from sticking together. Set aside.
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 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.
Meanwhile, prepare the 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 side when done.
While the broccoli is cooking, place a large skillet on stovetop. Heat to medium and melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat for 2 minutes stirring with a whisk.
Next, add in 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!
How to Store Extra Buffalo Mac and Cheese
Make extra? No worries, this healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese is actually the best meal prep recipe ever! I love to save my extras in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. You can save any extras for up to 5 days!
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!Print
Cheesy, creamy, gluten-free healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese. A nutritious and rich lightened version of a classic, perfect for a comforting dinner or lunch!
- 12 fusilli or elbow pasta (I used Jovial gluten-free)
- 2 medium chicken breasts
- 1/3 cup medium buffalo sauce, more to taste (I used New Primal)
- 12 oz fresh broccoli florets (one head)
- Cooking spray or 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 1.5 cups 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 425F. 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 aside.
- 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 side when done.
- Meanwhile, place a large skillet on 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!
Can substitute almond milk for any milk of choice.
Can substitute sharp cheddar cheese with whatever shredded cheese you enjoy. Vegan cheese works too.
Use your favorite buffalo sauce. I used New Primal’s Medium Buffalo Sauce.
- Prep Time: 10 mintues
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Lunch & Dinner
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: healthy dinner, buffalo chicken, mac and cheese, healthy mac and cheese, healthy lunch, healthy buffalo chicken, healthy buffalo chicken mac and cheese, light mac and cheese, chicken, gluten free, gluten free dinner, gluten free mac and cheese
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