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“Macaroni” and Cheese

By July 16, 2010December 3rd, 2020Vegetarian

“Macaroni” and Cheese

Hearts of Palm is a great veggie to substitute for noodles in my “Macaroni” and Cheese. 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 denser 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.

"Macaroni" and Cheese

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

"Macaroni" and Cheese
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)

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Every day has calculations for percent of fat/protein/carbs as well as a VERY detailed workout schedule of when to eat around your workout!

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Gout, or elevated levels of uric acid, is often mistakenly remedied by eliminating protein and replacing those calories with carbohydrates; the most dangerous carbohydrate for gout is fructose. The prevalence of gout seems to have doubled over the last 25 years. Uric acid accumulates and crystallizes into needle-sharp urate crystals. These crystals then lodge in the soft tissues and in the joints of the extremities most commonly, the big toe. This causes inflammation, swelling, and terrible pain.

Uric acid is a breakdown of protein compounds known as purines; which are the building blocks of amino acids. High concentrations of purines are found in meat, SO we assumed that the primary cause of elevated uric acid levels in the blood is caused by an excess of meat consumption.

The actual cause has been quite shocking. Just as a low sodium diet has been proven to NOT help with lowering blood pressure and a cholesterol-free diet doesn’t help with decreasing heart disease, a low-purine diet has no effect on uric acid levels.

A vegetarian diet will drop serum uric acid levels by only about 10% compared to a typical American diet, but that isn’t going to do much to decrease gout and the pain that is being experienced.

Another shocking piece of evidence is that eating additional protein increases the excretion of uric acid from the kidney! This decreases the level of uric acid in the blood; therefore the high protein diets are helpful, even if the purines aren’t.

Now let’s look at the true culprit…Insulin resistance DOES raise uric acid levels. This happens because it decreases uric acid elimination by the kidney; the same way it raises blood pressure by decreasing sodium excretion. So raised insulin levels will raise uric acid levels and can cause gout. Therefore a high carbohydrate diet is one large problem with gout.

BUT there is one specific carbohydrate source to REALLY steer clear from! Fructose causes many problems, but we are now understanding that it also is the main contributor to gout. Fructose increases serum levels of uric acid. The increase in uric acid levels with an infusion of fructose was first written about in the Lancet in the late 1960s. Fructose was proven to accelerate the breakdown ATP (the primary source of energy); which is loaded with purines. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate; adenosine is a form of adenine, and adenine is a purine; this increases the production of uric acid. Alcohol also raises uric acid levels through the same reaction.

Fructose also stimulates the production of purines. The metabolism of fructose leads to the production of lactic acid, which inhibits the excretion of uric acid by the kidney, which raises uric acid by that mechanism.

Gout can run in families. In 1990, Edwin Seegmiller and the British geneticist George Radda discovered that the familial association was a very specific gene defect that regulated fructose metabolism. This gene defect made it difficult to metabolize fructose and cause a predisposition to have gout if the diet had excess fructose.

So where do we get this excess fructose…sugar is about 50% fructose, honey is about 55% fructose, high fructose corn syrup can range up to 65% fructose, and AGAVE is about 90% fructose! Keep in mind that natural foods, even fruit, have fructose and in extreme health conditions, they should be avoided.

For more information CLICK HERE.

Maria Emmerich

Maria is a wellness expert who has helped clients follow a Ketogenic lifestyle to heal and lose weight for over 20 years. She has helped thousands of clients get healthy, get off medications and heal their bodies; losing weight is just a bonus. She is the international best selling author of several books including "Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on the Ketogenic Diet.".


  • MoLawEd says:

    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.

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

  • Julie says:

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

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

  • Kym says:

    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 says:

    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! 😀

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

  • Kelly says:

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

  • Anonymous says:

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

  • 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 says:

    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!

  • Awesome dinner! Can I come over?;)

  • Tracey says:

    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.

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

  • Jenni says:

    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!

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • vikings says:

    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 !

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • Heather says:

    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.

  • isabelle says:

    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!

  • Valerie Pergolizzi says:

    Ridiculously delicious! Will try with gruyere next time and a little fresh nutmeg!

  • Hope says:

    I have heard of using hearts of palm in place of potatoes for a potato salad.

  • Jenna says:

    When I made this my cheese just clumped together and didn’t combine with the broth or butter. What did I do wrong?

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