As a card carrying XX chromosome’d individual (aka – a female), I like to think I’m pretty attuned to my emotional status at all times.

24/7. 365 (unless it’s a leap year, in which case – 366).

So it came as a shock even to me when I ran into my old roommate this past weekend and, when she asked how running was going for me, I replied that I had taken three weeks off because I was burnt out.

Uhhh, what?


Personally, I had been under the impression this whole time that it was all because of a hamstring injury/weirdness thing.  Apparently that was only part of the story.

(Really, subconscious?  I thought we promised to never keep secrets from each other.  I feel betrayed.)


But the more I ruminated on it and rolled it over and over (and over) in my mind (because even if I failed at being in touch with my emotions, I certainly intended to exercise my feminine rights to overthink things!)…

…the more I realized how true it was.

After training for three half marathons for three months straight.  I was burnt out.  It was quite the revelation.


By the end of that third week, though, I started to crave it again.  Felt the ache and need in every (muscle) fiber of my being.

I longed for the feel of the wind at my back.  The pavement against my feet.  The humidity occluding my sweat pores.  (Okay, maybe not that last one so much, but it’s part of the northeastern seaboard package.)

Perfect timing considering that as of this week I am officially marathon training.  And thanks to that time off, I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Sure, my legs are a little rustier than they were three weeks ago.  I’m a tad bit slower.  But I’m gonna get that second wind.  Get my groove back.  And prove to myself that that a few weeks without running are not the end of the world.

I’m sure my subconscious realizes that already, though.  She’s a pretty smart gal, after all.


So since I’m back to running absurd distances (or will be soon), there will be lots more pasta around these parts!

First up, we have this avocado mac and cheese.  Yeah, it’s really green.  Until the avocado starts to oxidize and then it becomes really brown.  But it’s also really delicious and a way healthier-than-normal take on everyone’s favorite comfort food.  So much so, you don’t even have to run even a mildly absurd distance to eat it.  Win.  Definite win.

Avocado Mac and Cheese
Serves 6, adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod


  • 10 oz elbow macaroni
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond milk (or regular milk)
  • 2 cups shredded lowfat cheddar cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook the elbows in it until al dente, then drain and set aside.
  2. Combine the garlic, avocados, lime juice, and cilantro in the food processor and pulse to combine until smooth and creamy.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add in the flour and stir into the butter until it forms a paste.  Whisk in the milk until smooth.  Stir it with a wooden spoon until it starts to thicken.  Add the cheese and stir until melted and creamy.
  4. Place the macaroni in a large bowl.  Add in the avocado sauce and stir to combine.  Stir in the cheese sauce.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Serve warm.

*The mac and cheese is best eaten the first or second day but won’t keep for much longer than that.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Simona of Briciole.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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105 Responses to Avocado Mac and Cheese {}

  1. I reeeeeally want to make this dish. It looks so awesome! I love the green. 🙂 And I hear ya on the taking a break from running thing…sometimes you just need to! But you’ll be back into it in no time. Good luck with your training!!

  2. I’ve been dying to make avocado mac and cheese for a while now but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder!

    I’m not a runner, but I understand the importance of routine and how it can really mess with you if you’re out of it for a while. You’ll get back into it. I know it.

  3. Pam says:

    I don’t run unless chased by a bear, so I can not speak to running, however I do love avocados and mac and cheese and I will be making this!

  4. Sam says:

    Ooo…this looks so good. I’m guessing from both my own knowledge of avocados and your comment about oxidation that the leftovers aren’t pretty though. I wonder if I could scale it down…

    I admire your distance running–the 1.5 mile loop from my building around the little park and back to the building (and climbing five flights of stairs) is about as much as I can handle. I’ll definitely be outside (mimosa in one hand, egg sandwich in the other) cheering you on in November though!

  5. bellini says:

    I would have to scale it down myself or just invite plenty of healthy and inspiring people for dinner.

  6. This looks great, Joanne! I loved your other avocado dressing and should make it again when I get avocados. I felt so out of shape after I took 3 weeks off to go for a vacation… but little did I know that I could still cycle almost 200km last weekend. Boo-yah! 😉 A rest can be good, for sure!

  7. Beth says:

    This looks great, although I know at least one person in my family who wouldn’t touch green mac and cheese. And I hate it when my subconscious keeps secrets from me, too!

  8. Johanna GGG says:

    woah – that is taking mac and cheese to a new level – I have made pasta with just a plain avocado sauce but I love this sound of this more complex sauce – and am glad to hear that you and your subconscious are getting in touch – sounds like a healthy sort of relationship 🙂

  9. Um, can I also start eating more pasta on your behalf? I think I’ll start with this.

  10. Victoria says:

    I’m pretty sure I could manage to eat all of this before it turned brown 😉 No worries there. I’m glad you break in running has given you a second wind! You rock!! xo

  11. Hotly Spiced says:

    It was only a three-week holiday so I’m sure you’ll be back to your old speeds soon. Especially with this sort of fuel in my system. What a gorgeous looking mac and cheese! The colour the coriander and avocados adds is wonderful. And that image of the cut avocado is so perfect. How many did you have to cut open to find the perfect one or are all avocados in NYC that good? xx

  12. i love this pasta! i’m glad you’re getting back into running. i think being a bit burned out is perfectly normal, and i’m sure you’ll be all up to speed super fast. 🙂

  13. MS3 says:

    It’s ok – I like being in touch with my feelings too 😛

    Also, OMG this mac and cheese is out of control!!!! I HAVE TO MAKE THIS! Thanks for the wonderful recipe! 🙂

  14. OMG, the Mac and Cheese looks amazing! I’m making this all for me!! I wish my family would eat avocado! 🙁

    I understand about being burnt out! I just started my exercise routine up again. I exercised at least 5 days a week for two years and I was tired. After taking a mont off, I’m rusty and sore, but it’s good for me and I feel so much better when I’m done working out!!

  15. Amy says:

    Pam ^^^^ LOL. The break is just what you needed to get back in the saddle and take the concrete (or treadmill) by storm. I’m burnt out, too. Tired of running, tired of Insanity, tired of my CathE routines. I want my own pool so I can swim in the mornings. Waaaaaaaaaa.

  16. Gloria says:

    Look delicious Joanne many times ago I ate somethig similar snd as amazing look nice:)

  17. You should show it to us brown too… like before and after 😉 Sounds like the running break was much needed (both physically and emotionally). Good luck with marathon training and mac&cheese eating… although you prob don’t need help there, i wouldn’t 😉

  18. I never thought you could cook avocadoes…but this looks sooo green and creamy and nourishing and yummy that I am so going to try. Yum!

  19. Marcia says:

    yummy. I often just throw diced avocado on top of any kind of pasta dish. Then the pasta dish doesn’t turn brown.

    Glad you are getting back into running. I long for that. I long to have ankles again though.

  20. Pam says:

    We all get burned out sometimes. I am glad you are ready to go again. I am loving this avocado mac & cheese… it looks so creamy & delicious.

  21. Margarita says:

    burning out on something is ok… it’s very natural… glad to know you gave your body time to rest, recuperate, and then be ready for more. good luck on going back to running and yay for more pasta dishes! LOL! just curious, what do you do when you’re not running?

  22. Nina says:

    I’ve never used avacados in a pasta…this is a great idea.Yummy!

  23. Jenna says:

    So I have to ask–how long do you have until this turns brown? I love the looks of it, but I want to make sure I don’t fall outside the window of pretty green and into the disturbing brown.

  24. Lynn says:

    I would have thought that was pesto. Looks yummy!

  25. Lyndsey says:

    This just seems right! I would have to make enough to eat at once so it won’t turn brown! Yummy!

  26. I usually use Daiya cheese- I am going to test this out vegan style and I think it’s going to be delicious. Avocado! Cheese! yum!!!

  27. I’m a huuuuge fan of this Joanne. Absolutely love the photos too!

  28. We all have our dips and starts, you’ll be back pounding that pavement in no time. And did I mention to you that I have new running shoes? It’s a start!
    I absolutely love this take on mac and cheese. And I have 3 ripe avocados..

  29. I bet it would be good with goat cheese too!

  30. sandra says:

    this looks so amazingly yummy!!

  31. Patsyk says:

    Looks amazing! I just started running again, and feel pretty rusty (but then, my distances were never as much as yours)… hoping to get back into the groove and pick a 5k or 2 to do later in the summer/early fall.

  32. oooh thats sounds so delicious! avocados are so yummy!

  33. Camila Faria says:

    Awesome! This looks amazing. Good luck with running those absurd distances. 🙂

  34. Sometimes all we need is a little break. Good for you for taking it. The avocado and cheese sauce sound soo yummy.

  35. grace says:

    i. love. avocados, and i think this is an outstanding creation, joanne! very special indeed.

  36. Great idea to pair the avocado with the mac n cheese. Love the color! Good luck with the running.

  37. kankana says:

    The other day I saw avocado mousse and now this. Everybody loves the creamy green fruit 🙂

  38. Shannon says:

    oh man, this is certainly a winner. and it’s refreshing to realize that you just needed a break! time off makes it more exciting to get back in it, and now you’ll be all in for this round of marathon training 🙂

  39. Eileen says:

    Avocado mac!! Oh man, this is a great idea. I will make it and eat it and it will be ALL MINE MUAHAHA etc. 🙂

  40. Mary says:

    What a great take on mac n’ cheese. This would be welcome on my table at any time. It is a really nice recipe, Joanne. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  41. Lora says:

    Having spent the better part of this month running wild through friends’ 30 acre avocado farm in California while they were harvesting, this dish is right up my alley. I brought home a suitcase full of these heavenly green gems. Will try this one out. Mos def.

  42. Guru Uru says:

    This mac and cheese is such an original twist 😀
    Love the beautiful colour avocado gives!


  43. Blond Duck says:

    You gotta mix it up! 🙂

  44. What an awesome take on mac and cheese. I wish I could convince my hubby to try this, but he seems to avoid all things green. More for me then I guess? Haha! It looks so pretty to me, not to mention yummy 😀

  45. Yum! Also, I’m looking forward to you posting more pasta recipes because I’m going to be starting to train for my first marathon in a few weeks! I would LOVE to eat this after a long run.

  46. Kalyn says:

    Actually it makes me a little relieved to hear that even a mega-exerciser like yourself feels burned out sometimes. (I am one of those people who doesn’t really like exercise; I just do it for the results.)

    And yes for Avocado Mac and Cheese!

  47. Kristen says:

    This looks and sounds so amazing!

  48. Reeni says:

    This is my idea of heaven! This wouldn’t have time to oxidize because I would devour every last bite! It looks so creamy and buttery.

  49. This looks so good! I need to get on the whole avocado pasta thing .. I can’t believe I still haven’t even tried that first famous avocado pasta recipe that’s still making the rounds, I know I would love it (and this!)

  50. Amy B says:

    I’ve never heard of avocade mac n cheese…crazy! How does it taste? Like do you tast the avocado? Does it taste like regular mac n cheese. I’m so curious!! 🙂

    Also, I’m so glad that you convinced yourself to take a break from running, even if you didn’t mean to. It’s important not to burn out and now you’re in tip top shape for marathon training! Good luck!!

  51. Yay for healthy Mac and Cheese 🙂 I actually love that its green. Im making this!

  52. Are you serious?! Adding creamy avocados to mac n’ cheese! Incredible!

  53. That Girl says:

    The nice thing about being burnt out with running is that usually a hiatus recharges you.

  54. Elizabeth says:

    Sadly, most of my breaks have been forced upon me by injuries or other such things. Le sigh, one day at a time

  55. I have wanted to try mac n’ cheese with avocado but have been freaked out about the whole turning brown thing. How long did it take before that happened?

  56. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, this looks simply delicious! True comfort food. Blessings my dear, your friend, Catherine xo

  57. So glad you took some time off man! Sometimes our bodies just need it without even telling us.

    And this mac and cheese?! Jeez, I think you just blew my mind.

  58. Oooh, saving this! Love the idea of that healthy fat marrying with the cheesy fat! Glad you got a break to get excited about running again, but hopefully you won’t have to get an injury next time to take it when you need it! lol

  59. Barbara says:

    Hmmmm. Such an unusual recipe, Joanne. I’d love to try it. What will the grandkids think, I wonder?
    Time off is not a bad thing….

  60. Erica says:

    I love avocados! That looks so creamy and delicious….I am going to try it this weekend!Wonderful idea!

  61. marie says:

    I took 3 whole years off (1 with each kid) & when getting back into it afterwards thought it would never happen but guess what, it always did. Just like riding a bike. Breaks are good for your body, soul & phyche.

  62. If mac and cheese is my reward, I’ll run as many miles as I can! Although, a break from running sounds kind of delightful. Especially since it’s going to be over 100 all next week. 😉 Love the avocado here.

  63. Mmmmm! This looks so creamy and delicious! Also perfect for summertime!

  64. I would definitely run toward a big bowl of this pasta! Good luck with your training… I know you’ll be great!

  65. Dawn says:

    Hmm yes that subconcious was being very naughty keeping things from you like that. I’m glad you’re back in your groove! I remember being burnt out with running and I never went back LOL! Hey I figure the circut training, power yoga and core crushing class are ok as alternatives for now.
    As for this mac n cheese – I. Can. Not. Wait. To. Make. This.

  66. Jenn Kendall says:

    Oh. My. God. this is brilliant!

  67. Geni says:

    I know what you mean…I was burnt out on blogging for a little while there. I would say, “I am just too busy.” In truth, I just didn’t feel like it, had no desire. But I am back up and “running” as well. Glad you are back to the pavement…I know how much you usually love it. This mac n’ cheese if the absolute perfect trifecta of comfort food!

  68. tigerfish says:

    The use of avocado for extra richness and creaminess is genius!

  69. Juliana says:

    Wow Joanne, I love what you made here…love the flavors and the colors of it…absolutely awesome…
    Thanks for sharing this recipe and hope you are enjoying your week 🙂

  70. Cindie says:

    Yum, that looks amazing and so simple. Definitely saving this to make soon!

  71. Oh. My. Goodness. That looks creamy and amazing and absolutely delicious!

  72. Chris says:

    About how long does it take before it starts browning?

    I love the whole idea of this, it sounds GREAT! Such a fun departure from the same ol’ same ol mac and cheese.

  73. Faith says:

    Breaks are totally the best cure for burnout (of any kind). I just took an (unexpected) week off exercise myself…now that I think about, I think I was burned out too, lol! Next week I’m back at it, hopefully with a bowl of this mac and cheese. 🙂

  74. kellypea says:

    Well good for you! I still haven’t gotten my walking mojo back and my body is sympathizing because I’ve got a persistent pulled muscle in my back that keeps me in agony. I could make my self feel much better with a bowl of this green mac. YUM.

  75. Natalie says:

    i feel like i’ve been through an identity crisis because i, too, have been a little burnt out on running (and exercise in general). THE SHAME. i am a runner–i don’t know who i am if i’m not! and yet, cutting back on the miles and taking it easy hasn’t been the end of the world. dare i say it’s been good for me? (why is my mom always right?!) that being said, nothing beats the feeling of a great run 🙂

  76. Katie says:

    Be sure to take care of yourself. Rest can be a really good thing, even if it is really hard. I’ve never thought of putting avocado in mac and cheese before. As soon as I want to turn on my oven again, this will be high on my list.

  77. Suzi says:

    Joanne this is too cool! What a fab idea, totally creative. Avocados are truly coming into their own.

  78. Chaya says:

    I made my own version of this, last week and I loved it. Being an avocado fan doesn’t hurt either. The green is pretty, Joanne.

  79. holy….guacamole… (i mean…avocado mac and cheese.) but WOW this looks AMAZING. I need this. and i mean NEED this in my life.

  80. I love this pasta! I have not been to gym for over a month now and I am starting to feel worse for it. But sometimes you just need time out 🙂

  81. Very interesting use of avocado here! It looks great and I imagine it is super creamy!

  82. Ruth Daniels says:

    I love avocado – my Honey… not so much. This just might be the perfect way to get him to eat it! Love it!

    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  83. Glad you’re getting back in the groove. This pasta looks delicious!

  84. Simona says:

    An interesting take on Mac and cheese. And in the photos the green really shines. Thank you so much for contributing to Presto Pasta Nights.

  85. Bergamot says:

    Love this pasta recipe.

  86. vianney says:

    LOVE!!! you wouldn’t think it would work, but it really does!! does that make sense?

  87. Cathleen says:

    Wow. I haven’t had mac and cheese for SO long! But with avocado? You are blowing me away, this sounds awesome!

  88. oh myyyy so creamy delicious!

  89. In its green state it is very pretty. 😉 Looks really creamy and tasty.

  90. Deborah says:

    I have been dying to try this mac and cheese – and now I want it even more!!

  91. I have made avocado pasta and mac n cheese but never thought to combine the two… genious!

  92. Alyce says:

    this is so up my ally, it’s bananas! can’t wait to try it the next time a mac and cheese hankering comes along (aka, 20 minutes from now)

  93. Julia says:

    I didn’t realize you did 3 1/2’s in 3 months, woah! Crazy!
    I run so I can eat pasta like this, holy freak does it look good!

  94. RJ says:

    OMGZORS THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING RECIPE I HAVE EVER SEEN it is awesomeeeee 🙂 I leave for two weeks to travel and miss out on this!

  95. Juliet says:

    Carbs and creaminess….I can’t wait to try this!

  96. […] whole 6 more weeks of winter makes me want mac ‘n’ cheese nonstop. Like big bowls of this, and this and this. Can’t stop won’t […]

  97. […] Avocado Mac and Cheese hits the spot as a delicious, healthier take on everyone’s favorite comfort food. While the green hue may be slightly disconcerting at first, be prepared to enjoy what’s probably the freshest dish of the summer. Kicks of lime and cilantro intermix with a creamy avocado sauce that awaken the taste buds with light, yet rich flavor. This pasta is best served immediately after preparation because the avocado will oxidize and begin to turn brown over time in the fridge. For an extra boost of protein (or to turn it into a full-fledged dinner entree), try adding a few slices of grilled chicken. […]

  98. […] to be healthy simply because it’s trendy, so can you say #TrendyProblems? Here’s the recipe, now go be […]

  99. Chris says:

    Made this tonight .. It’s ok but I think it may need more cheese and I think I put too much lime juice in it. Lol.. I would use whole or 2% milk because the almond milk I think is off putting the taste.. Hubby like it but will tweaking the recipe next time 🙂

  100. Beth says:

    I was surprised at how good this was. Was a huge hit with my family.

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