Mac & Cheese with Ham and Roasted Veggies

Do you remember when you were little and your mom used to cut up hot dogs and put them in your mac and cheese? Wasn’t that the best?!  These days you don’t want to do that unless you’ve found a healthy brand of hot dogs and if you did, could you please let me know!

Mac & Cheese with Ham and Roasted Veggies | Simply Fresh Dinners

This recipe took a couple tries before I got it right because I wanted some super flavors and I finally got it!  This is a great way to use up your leftover ham if that was on your menu yesterday for Easter.

I used quinoa pasta and skim milk in this healthy version but whole milk and whole wheat pasta is good too.  You’re only using 1/3 cup of milk so the calories are minimal.  Adding smoked paprika and a little cayenne makes this dish delicious along with the savory taste of roasted vegetables.

Mac & Cheese with Ham and Roasted Veggies | Simply Fresh Dinners

I’m such a big fan of pasta and have loads of Spring pasta dishes that I can’t wait to dig into.  There’s lots of ways to ensure your dish is healthy and the arrival of fresh, local veggies has my head spinning with new possibilities this season.

Kids love color so they’re going to dig into this dish with enthusiasm.  Feel free to use whatever veggies you have on hand and leave out the ones that the kids object to.   Are there any kids who really like mushrooms?!  The roasted garlic is what makes this dish special for me.  What’s your favorite veggie that you can’t live without?

If you make this dish, send me a pic and I’ll share it on Instagram and Twitter.  I love it when you share your creations!


Mac & Cheese with Ham and Roasted Veggies
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Robyn Gleason
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6 persos
Yes, you can have a healthy Mac & Cheese! This delicious version of a traditional favorite is chock full of flavor and savory, roasted veggies.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 orange or yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 small head broccoli florets
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced thickly
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (1.5 cups) of quinoa macaroni or whole wheat
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of skim milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne
  • 1.5 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1.5 cups of sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 1.5 cups of cooked ham, diced
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. In large bowl combine garlic, onion, peppers and carrots. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Line baking sheet with foil and spread garlic, onion, peppers and carrots out evenly. Roast for 20 minutes, remove from oven. Add oil, salt and pepper to broccoli and mushrooms and add to tray. Continue roasting for an additional 15 minutes. Remove.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your pasta, drain and return to pot, adding a tablespoon of butter, stir to coat.
  3. In a small bowl combine [b]a half cup[/b] of the milk, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne and corn starch and whisk well.
  4. Warm the remaining cup of milk over medium heat. When you just start to see bits of steam rising from the warming milk, whisk in the milk and corn starch mixture. Continue whisking gently until the milk thickens slightly to the consistency of heavy cream, 3 to 4 minutes. (Don’t stop whisking during this process)
  5. Reduce heat to low and add small amounts of cheese at a time, whisking to a creamy consistency.
  6. Add half of the cheese sauce to pasta and mix carefully, add remaining sauce and stir to coat. Add roasted vegetables and ham, mixing well. Serve immediately.


I strongly recommend against buying cheese that is pre- grated.  I know it’s a time saver but did you know that they use cellulose to keep the cheese from clumping up?  What is cellulose you ask?  Powdered wood pulp!  Yep, that’s what’s in your cheese package.  Blech!

Don’t forget to Pin It!Mac & Cheese with Ham and Roasted Veggies | Simply Fresh Dinners


  • Reply
    Anita Rivera
    March 28, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Good morning, beautiful! My favorite veggie I can’t live without? BROCCOLI! I have to eat it every day and I think I’m addicted to it. All the better! This looks wonderful for any left over meat, and the pasta, my goodness, who doesn’t love any comforting carb as such!

    I hope you had a lovely Easter. I am enjoying quiet time on my Spring break. LOVING IT!

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    March 28, 2016 at 10:25 am

    What a great dish and perfect for using up left-over ham (which I have none of, but I am going to buy some this week because all these recipes are making me hungry for some 🙂
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers recently posted…Scaccia (Lasagna Loaf)My Profile

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    March 28, 2016 at 10:28 am

    What a great way to make a complete and tasty meal in one pot! It looks fantastic and love the colors 🙂
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert recently posted…Coconut Rum BlondiesMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

    We are a mac and cheese lovin’ family and this would go down BIG here, I love all the colors and textures, bring it on!!
    sue|theviewfromgreatisland recently posted…Greek Meatballs in Lemon SauceMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 11:19 am

    I love this! I was thinking today that I need to use the leftovers from yesterday and this just might fit the bill for part of it. My family loves pasta too and it’s almost always whole grain. Hope you had a lovely Easter!

  • Reply
    Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
    March 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Love all the veggies you’ve got going on in here, Robyn! Definitely a great way to up the healthy aspect of a great comfort dish and I love a colorful dish like this – so appetizing!
    Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen recently posted…Lentil and Kale SoupMy Profile

  • Reply
    Blair @ The Seasoned Mom
    March 28, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Beautiful, and packed with flavors and colors! I want it!! 🙂
    Blair @ The Seasoned Mom recently posted…{High Protein} Carrot Cake Overnight OatsMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Robyn, always looking for great ways to use up leftovers, this would be great with chicken too, love all the veggies you used.
    cheri recently posted…No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter BarsMy Profile

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 28, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    This is a fantastic way to use up leftover ham and I just happen to have a big chunk! Love all the colors!

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I love this because it’s a dish that both the kids AND adults will love! I haven’t found healthy hot dogs but I often sub in all natural smoked chicken apple sausage for a somewhat similar effect.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Lovely tasty dish all in one. Using leftovers is always great Robyn. It’s bright colors attract my appetite.
    lots of love to you. W.W.
    Linda recently posted…Blogger Perfect Photo Thumbnail Gallery TutorialMy Profile

  • Reply
    March 31, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Mac and cheese is one of my favorite dishes. Adding veggies is a great way to make the dish a little healthier and feel less guilty eating it.

  • Reply
    April 1, 2016 at 11:37 am

    HI Robyn,
    Wow! This recipe gives a whole new meaning to Mac & Cheese – a healthier tastier one! I love all the herbs spices that you have added. It screams with flavor and looks scrumptious. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted!
    Marla recently posted…Real Food Fridays #133 – Demanding Real Food for Real HealthMy Profile

  • Reply
    Kathryn Grace
    April 2, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    Way to go, making comfort food all that much healthier, colorful and delicious! I’ll probably make it without the ham, since we rarely buy meat any more, but either way, I know this is going to be good.
    Kathryn Grace recently posted…Coconut butternut squash soup with toasted pepitas and kaleMy Profile

  • Reply
    April 4, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    Robyn, another great dish, I want to try. Who doesn’t lover Mac and Cheese? I love your twist on it. Thanks for sharing at DI&DI. Lots of love from W.W.
    Linda recently posted…Dishing It & Digging It Link Party #90My Profile

    • Reply
      April 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks, Linda. I’m so far behind in my cooking but hope to catch up soon 🙂

  • Reply
    April 6, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Hi Robyn,
    Just a note to let you know that I have chosen your post as one of my features for this weeks Real Food Fridays blog hop that goes live every Thursday @ 7pm EST. Thank you for being part of Real Food Fridays mission and helping to make this world a little bit healthier every week.
    Marla recently posted…“10 Ways to Spend Less on Appliances!”My Profile

  • Reply
    April 7, 2016 at 8:26 am

    That looks delicious, and you are so right. It was great to mix in leftover hot dogs or sausage into cheesey dishes.

    Mouth officially watering now! lol
    Christine recently posted…Kitchen Tour 2016My Profile

  • Reply
    Real Food Fridays #134 – Committing to Promoting Healthy Living
    April 7, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    […] Robyn @ Simply Fresh Dinners — Mac & Cheese with Ham & Roasted Veggies […]

  • Reply
    Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine
    April 10, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Alex would really love this! All his favorites. I am making him a ham for Easter so I will have to come back to this! 🙂
    Michelle @ Vitamin Sunshine recently posted…Roasted Vegetables (My Favorite Spring Version!)My Profile

  • Reply
    Dottie Nauer
    April 27, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I love this jazzing up of everyday mac, ham and cheese. It was delightful! The smoked paprika was an excelent touch, and I’ll use just a bit more next time. Good enough to share at a potluck, and maybe this is a good way to get kids to love veggies.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 9:53 pm

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it, Dottie. I always go a little easy on the smoked paprika because some like it a little milder but your comment is a good reminder that I should offer choices when it comes to measurements.
      I use Chickapea Pasta now for all my pasta dishes. You can find it on the sidebar. Super healthy and the kids really love it! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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