Veggie Mac and Cheese

Are you looking for more kid-friendly veggie recipes? This Veggie Macaroni and Cheese recipe is a winner!

Veggie Macaroni and Cheese Soup Thermos Lunch Idea via

I love thermos lunches. In the fall, winter, and early spring, I try to have a thermos lunch once a week in our school lunch menus. A good thermos school lunch tells my kids that mom wanted them to have a homemade “meal” for lunch that day.

I’ve tried filling them with lasagna, spaghetti, and soups, and they are typically very receptive. On the other hand, should I have the bright idea of filling the thermos with leftover grilled vegetables from dinner, the thermos would come back untouched.

I don’t know what it is about the kids + veggies combination. Why does it have to be so hard to get them to eat more veggies?

Since my kids are very picky, I’m constantly trying to find ways in which I can sneak more of them into their diet (hidden, cooked differently, in their favorite recipe, baked—you name it, I’ll try it).

I love my thermos containers. I can pack a filling lunch that is easy to eat in their 20-minute lunch period.

Some of the other things I’m always keeping in mind when creating MOMables menus are ways to revamp leftovers, help my subscribers stay on a budget, and use real and convenient ingredients.

I wrote a post in this column about why I am on a mission to help others feed their kids better.

One of the reasons the use of more real ingredients in our diet plays a big role is because my daughter is allergic to disodium phosphate and chemically-derived nitrates. For this reason, I don’t buy things that have orange powdered cheese or processed cheese (those triangular chips, orange puffs, blue box mac and cheese, fake block cheese—it seems to be everywhere!) or processed meats cured with chemical nitrates.

If I’m purchasing a “boxed” anything, the product can’t have artificial flavors, synthetic preservatives, or GMO ingredients (the final one is by choice). I thoroughly scan each label before they go in my grocery cart, a quick process that can save me a trip to the emergency room.

Veggie Macaroni and Cheese Soup Thermos Lunch Idea via

As a full-time working mom who often travels, I also have a few items in my pantry that dad can whip up quickly, insert in their lunch, or pull out of the freezer for lunch or dinner.

This soup is a delicious and hearty dinner for the family but also perfect for a school lunch. Last month, I had 368 moms in my recipe-testers group perfect the recipe so your kids could enjoy it too. Bonus: It’s just $1.24 per thermos! Win-win.

4.3 from 4 reviews
Veggie Mac and Cheese
Your kids are going to love this cheesy veggie mac and cheese in their thermos!
Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 4-6
With boxed macaroni and cheese:
  • 1 6-ounce box natural or organic macaroni and cheese
  • 1 32-ounce package reduced-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend
  • ¼ cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
To use pasta:
  • 1½ cups dry macaroni pasta (or other)
  • 1 32-ounce package reduced-sodium chicken broth/stock
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot blend
  • ¼ cup whole milk or half and half
  • 1½ cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the vegetables, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium.
  3. Add the cooked macaroni and cheese to the veggies and broth, add the milk and cheese. Stir well to combine until the cheese is melted, turn off the heat, and serve.

This was a sponsored post by Annie’s Homegrown. All opinions, as always are my own.  


  1. Stephanie says

    I have made this twice and I am having the same problem a couple of other commenters have had with the cheese not breaking down in the broth. It just sticks to everything. We love the flavor but the texture of the cheese in it is weird. Is there something I could do different?

    • says

      another solution is to leave the cheese for the end and sprinkle it on top. It won’t be creamy-cheesy but still delicious -and you use less cheese.

  2. Dawn says

    I made this for my family, but couldn’t get the shredded cheddar cheese to melt into the broth. It kind of just stuck to the cauliflower. I used a block of cheese that I shredded myself to avoid the gritty cellulose coating on pre-shredded cheese.
    When it wasn’t melting in, I turned up the heat a little to see if that would help, but it just made it turn chewy.
    Any suggestions on how to get it to melt in better?

    By the way – my family did eat it as it was, the picky kid needed some coaxing but finished his meal. It would just go better if the soup part were cheesy instead of broth.

  3. Robyn says

    I’m thrilled to report that both of my kids, ages 5 and 3, like this soup! Phew. Love it when I can make the same lunch for everyone and we’re all happy.

  4. Jen says

    Excited to make this recipe! Do you add the cheese (powder packet) that comes with the mac and cheese and then additional cheddar cheese at the end?

  5. C. Burk says

    Do you add the prepared mac n cheese to the veggie/broth mixture undrained? I did not drain my veggies and my dish came out very soupy.

    • says

      prepare mac and cheese as per box directions, set aside. Make the “soup”. Then add prepared mac and cheese into the soup. It’s a mac and cheese soup.

  6. Dani C says

    We love thermos lunches too! We use the 10 oz funtainers but love the one in your pic with the wide mouth. Can you share which thermos you use? Thanks!

  7. Shay Van Raalte says

    This looks amazing! My biggest hurdle is finding things that they will eat and that I feel will stay at a safe temperature. My oldest is going into 5th grade this year, and it will be almost 6 hours from the time we put her lunch into her lunch box, and the time she gets to eat it. I’m not sure what will stay safe (warm items…..) to eat. :)

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