“Macaroni” and Cheese

Posted by cemmerich in cheese, gluten free, Hearts of Palm, vegetarian 16 Jul 2010

Hearts of Palm is a great veggie to substitute for noodles. They are from the inner portion of the palm tree. Hearts of palm are ivory-colored and delicately flavored. Their texture is smooth and a little firm with a flavor that slightly resembles an artichoke. Canned hearts of palm are packed in water and can be found in most supermarkets.Yeah, they are a little more dense than a noodle, yet a lot lighter in calories and carbohydrates. Higher in nutrients and fiber. One tip, par-boil the hearts of palm to soften them before using.


2 jars of Hearts of Palm
Water or chicken broth

1/4 cup butter
3 TBS Cream Cheese
1/4 cup beef/chicken broth
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Sea salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar (for topping)

2 TBS butter
1/2 cup blanched almond flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bring a large pot of chicken broth OR water to a boil. Season the water with salt. Spray the baking dish with olive oil spray. Cut the Hearts of Palm into macaroni noodle shapes. Cook the Hearts of palm in the boiling broth or water until tender, about 5 minutes (You could do this in a microwave too). Drain well and pat between several layers of paper towels to dry. Transfer the hearts of palm to an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cream cheese and broth. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Add the cheeses, stirring until cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, pour over the veggie, and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix the butter and almond flour together until clumpy. Place on top with the additional 1/2 cup cheese and bake until browned and bubbly hot, about 15 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

KRAFT Dinner Mac-n-cheese = 414 calories, 12g fat, 17g protein, 58g carbs, 2.6g fiber (55.4g effective carbs)
“Healthified” Mac-n-cheese = 335 calories, 29g fat, 14g protein, 5g carbs, 2.2 fiber (2.8g effective carbs)

  • MoLawEd July 16, 2010 at 1:09 pm / Reply

    Brilliant! I was planning to make a low-carb “mac” and cheese just this weekend, and was still trying to figure out what veg to use. Hearts of palm never occurred to me, but I’m going to get a jar today. Thanks for the terrific idea.

  • Maria Emmerich July 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm / Reply

    Thanks so much. Let me know what you think:)

  • Julie July 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm / Reply

    oh i LOVE this simple swap! great way to make the good ole mac n cheeeeze!

  • Maria Emmerich July 16, 2010 at 2:06 pm / Reply

    Thanks! I hope you all like it… It will a “staple” dinner for mr from now on;)

  • Kym July 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm / Reply

    I bought a jar at Trader Joe’s the other day to try the Tuna “Noodle” recipe. Now I’ll have to try this one!

  • Kelly July 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm / Reply

    Wow! I made this last night for the entire family and everyone loved it! This is definitely going into my bag of tricks. I learned a few things about hearts of palm by making this (my first time to ever have them). 1 – when you cut them up into pieces they may seem to start falling apart and it might keep you from cutting them smaller, but go ahead and do it. They don’t really fall apart any more while cooking and 2 – cook them as soft as you want them to be before you put them together with the cheese sauce. I thought that the extra cooking time in the over when soften them even more so I held back a bit on the cooking beforehand, but they really did get any softer in the oven at all and I definitely could have cooked them longer in the water. :)

    Hope that helps someone! :D

  • Maria Emmerich July 18, 2010 at 4:13 pm / Reply

    Thanks Kelly! I’m new to hearts of palm myself. I will use your tips;)

  • Kelly July 18, 2010 at 4:36 pm / Reply

    forgive my typo’s and I hope the suggestions help. :)

  • Anonymous July 24, 2010 at 6:08 pm / Reply

    What do the hearts of palm taste like? Where would I find these in a grocery store?

  • Maria Emmerich July 25, 2010 at 1:27 am / Reply

    Hearts of palm don’t taste like much…kind of a “blank canvase” to work with. You can find them in a jar near the canned vegetables.

  • Tracey August 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm / Reply

    I’m trying this one out tonight to go with some pork chops and green beans. It will be my first time eating hearts of palm!

    Before I became wary of soy, I used to make a so-so tasting tofu-roni and cheese, but this looks much more tasty. Thanks!

  • Maria Emmerich August 27, 2010 at 9:55 pm / Reply

    Awesome dinner! Can I come over?;)

  • Tracey August 28, 2010 at 12:52 am / Reply

    You could have! We had plenty. And the “mac” and cheese? It was TO DIE FOR. Your recipes are life-changing. Low carb is finally as delicious as I always hoped it could be.

  • Maria Emmerich August 28, 2010 at 1:41 am / Reply

    What a nice way to end my day;) you totally made my night!

  • Jenni February 18, 2012 at 8:26 pm / Reply

    Made this for dinner tonight… Oh me oh my! It was so delicious, and now my kitchen smells of yummy melted cheese :). It was so quick and easy to make (luckily because I was starving), what a real treat! The problem with your magnificent recipes Maria is that they are so good that 1 serving just doesn’t cut it! Thanks so much for this gem of a recipe, it made my evening!

  • Georgia Walker August 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm / Reply

    OK, I’ll admit I was skeptical but a good macaroni and cheese recipe has actually been the subject of some research for me :-). This was awesome! I was also doubtful that it would serve SIX because with the old Mac & cheese I would eat until literally sick. This was so good but didn’t have that addictive affect of eating more and more – even when you know you’re full. This is a keeper! Thank you!!

  • Jennifer Martin August 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm / Reply

    Like Georgia, I was skeptical. But being a foodie, I’ll try anything once. Mom made this last week and followed the recipe to a tee. It was fantastic. I made it again today (I like to experiment) and changed the cheddar/parm blend to gouda/havarti/cheddar.


    I just want to say thank you so much Maria; for your counseling, blog, books, and recipes! I’m so very thankful I found you.

    Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. I got the ice cream maker this week and will be playing with that this weekend.

    • Maria Emmerich August 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm / Reply

      Awe, thanks girl! :) You will love the ice cream!

  • vikings November 3, 2012 at 12:23 am / Reply

    This went over very well, I loved it, Hubby said make it anytime! My 16 year old son had seconds. My 17 year old daughter ate the whole helping , asking the whole time what was up with these noodles I didn’t answer , just said healthy noodles. She went searching in the kitchen and found the hearts palm jar, then the 15 year old said , yuck, i’m not eating palm trees. So 4 out of 5 ain’t bad. The only thing I did different was put asiago cheese on top. Thank you Maria !

    • Maria Emmerich November 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm / Reply

      Thank you! Funny! This shows why you need to lets kids taste buds judge the food. :)

  • Julie Cecilia November 18, 2012 at 12:40 pm / Reply

    Hi Maria! What size jars? My purchase for Costco is 16 oz each. Do I still use 2? Thanks! Looking forward to making my husbands favorite meal!

    • Maria Emmerich November 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm / Reply

      My jars are 16 ounce too, so yes use 2. Thanks! :)

  • Ashleigh Delsar April 24, 2013 at 11:14 am / Reply

    Hi I was just wondering if you have any ideas as an alternative to the heart of palm as I’m in Australia and can’t seem to find it anywhere here.
    Also, I’ve been reading through your blog and found it’s quite similar to the diet I’m on now. Only my naturopath seems to think that I shouldn’t eat dairy, because she says it’s not good for you. But it’s been really hard for me going without it, as I love cheese. I see a lot of your recipes have dairy products, and was wondering if you could tell me what your personal take on it is… as in if it’s okay to eat, but only in moderation, etc?

    • Maria Emmerich April 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm / Reply

      Hmm, sorry that is a tough one. You could try zucchini. I think dairy is fine unless you have a dairy allergy/sensitivity. :)

  • Heather September 6, 2013 at 3:44 pm / Reply

    I am curious about the nutritional information. I just entered this into my recipe creator (without the topping of almond flour and butter) and it states the calorie count as 445 per serving! That seems way off from your calorie count of 239 which I am assuming includes the topping.

    • cemmerich September 7, 2013 at 2:01 pm / Reply

      This is an old recipe before I started using my new calorie counter. I updated it above with the values. :)

  • isabelle October 21, 2013 at 11:00 pm / Reply

    LOVED it!!! This is a fantastic recipe… I would have never thought to use hearts of palm in a “gratin” dish, always had them in salads… Delicious! I am just so happy that I can make a white cheesy sauce now without any flour at all, how great is that? Thank you!

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