Macaroni and cheese is a comfort food staple, but let’s face it: With all the cream, butter, and cheese (and artificial ingredients, if you’re making the boxed variety), it’s not the healthiest. But there’s good news: With just a few swaps and additions, mac and cheese can get way healthier. Here’s how.

1. Buffalo Chickpea Mac and Cheese

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This vegan macaroni dish is a little unconventional, but the additions are definitely worth the effort. The noodles are topped with crunchy romaine lettuce, spicy Buffalo roasted chickpeas, and creamy (non-dairy) ranch-style dressing.

2. Creamy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Butternut squash and Greek yogurt make this pasta dish super creamy and comforting without, you know, cream. A sprinkle of whole-wheat breadcrumbs on top adds some delicious crunch, and (bonus!) it freezes perfectly for last-minute dinners.

3. Broccoli-Basil Mac and Cheese

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This healthy casserole is topped with breadcrumbs made of (wait for it… ) broccoli. The cheesy sauce includes butternut squash, cherry tomatoes, and Greek yogurt. So it practically has more veggies than noodles, making it a dish you can feel good about chowing down on.

4. Vegan Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

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The gluten-free, vegan “cheese” sauce this recipe uses gets its cheesy texture from nutritional yeast, making it a super healthy alternative to a classic roux. It also calls for lots of roasted garlic, so the end result is so flavorful, no one will know they’re eating vegan and gluten-free—unless you tell them.

5. Bacon and Pea Macaroni and Cheese

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In this smokey, bacon-y mac and cheese recipe, bright green peas add some much-needed vegetables while creamy Greek yogurt replaces some of the cheese. It’s a healthier option on pretty much all fronts. Naturally, we love it.

Originally published November 2014. Updated April 2017.