Cantina Whole Grain Penne & Cheddar with Broccoli

Find me on Facebook: Andrea Stewart, RD

It’s almost impossible to not love a homemade macaroni and cheese. Here is a dish that I have been making forever. I call it Cantina Whole Grain Penne and Cheddar. It’s pretty much a traditional mac and cheese recipe, but I use 100% whole grain penne instead of elbows. I also add caramelized onions, cumin and garlic to the homemade cheese sauce and then top it with crushed whole grain tortillas to give it a Mexican Cantina taste with some wonderful crunchiness. If you want to add some meat, I’d suggest some lean, diced ham or some sliced pieces of Canadian bacon. Great for game day and with hot pepper sauce! It’s all about real, whole food in moderation with plenty of activity.


-16 oz. 100% whole grain penne, cooked
-1 onion diced
-1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-2 tbsp. butter
-2 tbsp. of whole grain flour
-2 c. of reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
-2 eggs
-2 c. skim milk
-2 tbsp. cumin
-2 tbsp. garlic powder
-3 c. of crunchy whole grain tortilla chips, smashed (works best in sandwich bag)
-3 c. fresh broccoli, steamed


Preheat oven to 375. Cook penne and set aside. In a medium sauce pan, saute diced onion in olive oil until soft and golden in color, remove from pan. In the same sauce pan, add butter and flour until it becomes a yellow paste. Add in caramelized diced onions, milk, 2 eggs and whisk together, stirring constantly. When the milk thickens add in cheese, garlic and cumin until a creamy, smooth sauce forms. Place penne in a 9 x 13 baking dish, lightly coated with pan spray. Add cream sauce on top and mix together gently. Sprinkle crushed whole grain tortilla chips on top. Bake covered for 20 minutes and then 10 minutes uncovered. Serve with steamed broccoli. Optional: Add diced ham to cream sauce or sliced Canadian bacon on top with sliced tomatoes. This is a favorite. Enjoy!

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