Mac and cheese meets pasta salad in this zesty macaroni and cheese filled with Tex Mex flavors and bell pepper crunch!
Can we all just agree that mac and cheese nights are absolutely, without a doubt the best nights?
I think happy thoughts every day that somebody somewhere will find a way to make a crazy indulgent mac and cheese that is actually calorie free so I can eat it on a daily basis without my thighs hating me….but until then, allow me to introduce you to this Zesty Macaroni and Cheese!!!!!
AKA – the next best thing.
This is basically what would happen if mac and cheese and pasta salad had a love child. FYI.
Cute little elbows are tossed with a sour cream-salsa sauce that somehow manages to be both creamy and fresh in every bite. A rainbow of bell pepper cubes are mixed in for crunch, while grated cheddar cheese makes it just the right bit of indulgent. Personally, I added the cheese while the pasta was still hot so that it could get all melty-like, but you could also veer further down the pasta salad path and allow it all to come to room temperature before mixing.
Party in your mouth with every bite?! Um, yes.
Basically, I’m seeing an excess of mac and cheese nights in our future.
And I’m really liking it.
- 6 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 fresh lime
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup salsa
- 3 tbsp fat free sour cream
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 medium green bell pepper
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 4 oz low fat sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup green onions, chopped
- Prepare pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.
- While pasta is cooking, wash and grate the peel from the lime, then squeeze out 2 tablespoons of the juice; reserve.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the grated lime peel (zest), reserved lime juice, cilantro (washed and chopped), salsa, sour cream, oil, cumin and black pepper.
- Wash and dice bell peppers. Shred the cheese. Wash and chop the onions. Add the pasta, bell pepper, cheese and onions to the dressing, and toss to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.