This Cajun mac and cheese combines low carb chickpea pasta with a low fat spicy cheddar cheese sauce and fire roasted red peppers to create a lighter side dish that’s packed with creamy, cheesy goodness. Each serving has 10 grams of protein, 15 grams of carbs, and only 6 grams of fat!
I’ll give you a walkthrough of the recipe and cover ingredient modifications (and a way to shortcut the cheese sauce) below. And you’ll find the printable cajun mac and cheese recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Cajun Mac and Cheese Recipe Walkthrough
Here’s a look at everything you’ll need grouped by order and usage:
- Banza elbows or your choice of pasta
- light butter, all purpose flour, skim milk, freshly shredded cheddar
- cajun seasoning, paprika, black pepper
- Greek yogurt, dijon mustard, and roasted red peppers (from a jar)
You can probably get away with different substitutions like almond milk (worked fine in my Ninja Foodi mac and cheese recipe), real butter, or a gluten free flour option. The only ingredient I’d really stress the importance of would be the shredded cheddar. Since pre-shredded cheese tends to have anti-caking agents and other additives, you might have trouble melting it as smoothly.
Timing the Pasta and Cheese Sauce
If you start bringing a pot of salted water up to a boil first thing, the pasta should finish cooking a minute or two before your sauce is ready.
The Banza pasta tends to stick together once cooked and cooled so you don’t want it to finish cooking too far ahead of your sauce. If this happens, you can drizzle a small amount of oil over the cooked pasta and give it a toss.
Making a Simple Roux for the Cheese Sauce
To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet or saucepan. Once melted, add the flour and cook until it’s a toasty-smelling paste.
If you’ve tried my bacon gouda breakfast enchiladas, you’ll breeze through these steps!
Add the milk and stir until you have a smooth sauce. It should leave a trail when you drag a spatula or whisk across the pan (see photo below).
If you’ve made a roux for mac and cheese before and are wondering why you’re making a small batch, it’s due to the Greek yogurt that’s added in later stages. This is how you can enjoy this cajun mac and cheese without loads of fat!
Adding the Cheddar
Melt about half the cheese before adding the rest. You should have a smooth, creamy sauce before moving on.
Adding the Spices, Peppers, and Greek Yogurt
Reduce the heat to low before continuing.
Add the spices and give the sauce a stir before adding in the peppers and stirring once more. Finally, add in the Greek yogurt and dijon mustard. Stir until everything is evenly mixed.
The red peppers and Greek yogurt may cool the sauce down and make it thick at first. Give it 30-60 seconds over the low heat to bounce back before adding cooked pasta.
Gently fold it all together and you’re ready to serve! Like most mac and cheese dishes, this cajun mac and cheese is best when the cheese sauce is still warm. Serve immediately or keep it over low heat, stirring occasionally, until you’re ready to serve.
Final Cajun Mac and Cheese Recipe Notes
Don’t wanna fuss with a roux and cheese sauce? You could try alternatives like the light alfredo sauce I used in my breakfast mac and cheese or jarred queso like in my chicken fajita pasta bake. Or you could even skip it all and go straight in like my chicken bacon ranch mac and cheese calls for.
If you’re part of the cheddar powder fan club, you could probably reduce the fat content a bit further by swapping some cheddar for cheddar powder. I’d mix the cheddar powder with the Greek yogurt and add at the end of cooking.
And in case you’re looking for a protein boost, you could add some slice chicken sausage like my low carb jambalaya and Instant Pot red beans or some cajun seasoned ground beef similar to my queso mac and cheese.
Okay, that should cover it. If you have questions about this cajun mac and cheese recipe, drop a comment below or join my Facebook group with more than 10,000 folks that would love to provide answers!
- 8 oz Banza Pasta Elbows (or your choice of pasta)
- 2 Tbsp (28g) Light Butter
- 1 Tbsp (8g) All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 C (120mL) Skim Milk
- 1 C (112g) Freshly Shredded Sharp Cheddar
- 1/2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning*
- 1/2 Tbsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 C (227g) Fat Free Greek Yogurt
- 2 Tbsp (30g) Dijon Mustard
- 5 oz (140g) Roasted Red Peppers**, chopped
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta 2 minutes less than instructed on its packaging.
- Heat a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and melt. Add the flour to the melted butter and cook/stir for 30-60 seconds until you have a thick paste that smells slightly toasty.
- Add the milk and use a rubber whisk (for nonstick pans) or spatula to mix everything together. Continue cooking and stirring until no lumps remain and you have a thick mixture that leaves a trail when you drag your spatula/whisk across the bottom of the pan.
- Add half the cheese, stirring until evenly melted. Add the remaining cheese and stir until smooth. Reduce the heat to low.
- Add the paprika, cajun seasoning, and black pepper. Stir well before adding the chopped peppers, Greek yogurt, and dijon mustard. Cook for another 30-60 seconds until you have a smooth sauce.
- Drain the cooked pasta and add to the cheese sauce, gently folding everything together. Serve with fresh chopped parsley, if desired.
*Check out my Five Guys cajun fries seasoning for a cajun seasoning alternative.
**I used Trader Joe's Fire Roasted Red Peppers.
Each serving of mac and cheese has 4 Smart Points.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 11 Servings Serving Size: 1/2 Cup (90g)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 5.6gCarbohydrates: 14.8gProtein: 10.3g