Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
We always find something new we love from Trader Joe’s because it’s basically a gold mine for vegan/vegetarian options! Several months ago while browsing the frozen foods section, I found a Trader Joe’s Hatch chile mac and cheese frozen dinner. It was $2 and was specifically labeled vegetarian (cheese made without rennet!!) so I brought one home to try.
I thought it would be a good option for those nights I’m eating dinner solo (my husband works in college dining and sometimes eats at work). Tried it–loved it! I now keep a few of the TJ’s hatch chile mac on hand.
While I do love the convenience of frozen options occasionally, I always prefer to try making things from scratch. So I made a recipe for Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese. Now I have a copycat version I can make for dinner for the two of us 🙂
Hatch chiles are green chiles from New Mexico, specifically the Hatch region. When you travel through the Southwestern US, you find all kinds of foods featuring these mild green peppers. I buy the Hatch brand canned version, but there are several brands available. You can use these chiles for sauces, toppings, stirred into omelettes, dips, and of course, mac and cheese!
Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese:
- Creamy cheddar base with some kick
- Easy to make on the stove top
- Ready in about 30 minutes
Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces pasta (elbows, shells, etc.)
- ¼ cup butter, cubed
- ¼ cup AP flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- ⅛ tsp paprika
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups cheddar, shredded = 8 oz block
- 4 tbsp Hatch green chiles, drained = 4oz can fully drained
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside. As the pasta cooks, make the sauce.
Make the cheese sauce
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika and whisk until smooth.
- Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, 6-8 minutes.
- Cook and stir 1-2 minutes more after sauce comes to boil until thickened.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Using a spoon, gradually stir in cheese until melted.
- Stir in the drained Hatch chiles.
- Stir in drained and cooked pasta until coated.
- Serve as is or with your favorite toppings and enjoy! Leftovers can be refrigerated, covered, and reheated in the oven or microwave with a little milk or water added. Stir again before serving.
- This recipe calls for freshly shredded block cheddar. Bagged cheddar can be used but bagged cheese often has added anti-clumping ingredients which can result in less creamy cheese sauce. We recommend medium or sharp orange cheddar.
- Use less Hatch chiles for a milder result. Hatch chiles are pretty mild but if you prefer less peppers, try 2 tbsp instead.
- Toppings to try: sriracha, honey, Southwestern veggies, more cheese and/or buffalo sauce.
- Calories measured with regular ingredients– use reduced fat pasta, milk and/or cheese for less calories.
Have you tried Hatch chiles yet? They’re currently available fresh at our local grocery stores but the canned versions are really easy to work with– I’m sure I’ll try some more recipes with them soon. For now, enjoy the mac and cheese! Let me know what you think!