7 macaroni and cheese recipes, whether you want classic or bold

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

My biggest battle when going vegan was giving up macaroni and cheese. It was (and, to be honest, still is) my absolute favorite food. I loved it in all forms: baked, stovetop, boxed, you name it. Now that I’ve transitioned back to vegetarianism, I’m enjoying a bit of a mac and cheese renaissance. I’ve made the recipe that carried me through my childhood a couple of times (with peas and lots of extra-sharp cheddar), but I’m also eager to experiment and push the envelope in this new, cheesy chapter of my life. These recipes are just what I’m thinking: bold, flavor-rich takes on a beloved classic. For even more mac and cheese recipes, head over to our Recipe Finder and use the search bar.

Mac and Kimcheese With Mushrooms

Punchy kimchi infuses this mac with spice, tang and crunch. Mushrooms and red peppers add an additional layer of flavor and texture. Get the recipe.

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Inspired by a butternut squash lasagna, this has all the richness and umami flavor but with the ease of a casserole. Get the recipe.

8 must-have mac and cheese recipes, from classic to adventurous

Greens Mac and Cheese

Getting a dose of vegetables in a bowl of mac and cheese may sound too good to be true, but luckily for us, this recipe makes that dream a reality. Get the recipe.

Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese

You don’t have to give up this beloved dish if you’re vegan or avoid dairy. The sauce here is composed of potato, carrot, garlic, onion and cashews, and it gets savory depth and complexity from nutritional yeast, miso and mustard. Get the recipe.

A better bowl of mac and cheese

Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese

This is anything but your average macaroni and cheese. The dish comes together on the stovetop and features roasted red peppers, smoked paprika and a Cheez-It garnish for a smoky, savory twist. Get the recipe.

Mushroom and Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

Attention all parents: This mac bake is so creamy and cheesy that even the pickiest eaters won’t complain about the mushrooms and spinach. Get the recipe.

Patti LaBelle’s Macaroni and Cheese

Patti LaBelle’s famous macaroni and cheese features not one, not three, but five different kinds of cheese. It takes all the elements of a classic — the roux, cheddar, baking in the oven — and elevates everything to new heights. Get the recipe.

We tried 20 store-bought mac and cheese brands to determine which is the best (and the absolute worst)