Baked Macaroni & Cheese with Sunflower Seeds

Lightly toasted sunflower seed kernels give this macaroni and cheese recipe a delicious crunch. Sautéed onions and mushrooms are complimented by the rich cheddar cheese.

Recipe makes 6 To 8 servings.


  • 16 ounces uncooked macaroni
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seed kernels (Shelled salted sunflower seeds add a saltier crunch to this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 4 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Coarse ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons butter — melted
  • 1/2 chopped red bell pepper sliced into thin rings


  1. Heat the oven to 350F.
  2. Toast sunflower seeds in oil in a skillet until golden and season with a sprinkle of salt.
  3. Boil macaroni in lightly salted water for 6 to 7 minutes. Macaroni should still be firm.
  4. In the same pan used to toast the sunflower seeds, sauté the onions in the butter until light golden in color.
  5. Add mushrooms and sauté for another 4 minutes.
  6. Stir all ingredients together well and spoon into a greased baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes and cover with breadcrumbs and paprika.
  7. Bake another 10 minutes and garnish with raw red bell pepper rings