No problem eating greens with this creamed spinach mac and cheese!
I am serious. A whole huge bunch of fresh spinach. Baked into the loveliest mac and cheese pot that you ever will see. It’s everything you want and more, plus it is full of vegetables. There is NO getting around this one.
Who needs a bowl of mac and cheese with extra pow? ME! And you. Definitely you.
Secret time? I never had creamed spinach growing up. My mom and grandma never made anything like it – in fact, it wasn’t until my 20s that I had it. Obviously, I avoided it like the plague if I was offered it prior to that. My distaste for vegetables was off the charts and even creamed spinach, with what appeared to be a silky bechamel, was off limits for me.
The only thing that got me eating spinach was when it was drenched in hot bacon dressing.
And let’s be real – that dish is amazing.
But creamed spinach? No way! I feel like I totally missed out on plates of comfort food by avoiding it most of my life.
No longer! I’m here for all the creamed spinach. I’m even putting it in your mac and cheese.
Okay so here’s the deal. You’re basically going to make creamed spinach (like, a bunch of it) and then throw in tons of cheese. And tons of pasta.
Then sprinkle it with crispy crunchy fried onions. Or breadcrumbs!
Then bake it until super melty and cheese and hot.
And you just WON’T BELIEVE how fabulous it is.
This is such a great side dish or comforting meal, it has lots of green for Saint Patrick’s Day and it’s super satisfying and warming. Food is love all the time, but especially right now.
The crunchy topping is my favorite part. I like to use those crispy onions you may still have hiding in your pantry from the holiday season (use ’em up! they’re going to expire soon!) but you can also use breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, heck – even pretzel crumbs!
Just look at that perfection! Cheesy, melty, soft but sturdy noodles, tons of green! I love it so much. There is no better time to eat our feelings.
Creamed Spinach Mac and Cheese
Yield: 8 people
1 hr 10 mins
This creamed spinach mac and cheese is a dreamy, cheesy mac and cheese dish with tons of fresh baby spinach! Super comforting and flavorful.
- 1 pound short cut pasta, cooked according to package directions
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 4 tablespoons flour
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 12 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 12 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
- 6 ounces white cheddar, freshly grated
- 2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- ½ cup crispy onions or breadcrumbs, for topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat a large oven-safe pot over medium-low heat and add the butter. Stir in the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onions have softened.
At this time, you can also cook the pasta in another pot. You can cook it before too – just make sure to give it a quick spritz of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together.
Toss all the grated cheese together.
Stir the flour into the onions to create a roux. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it becomes golden in color and starts to smell nutty. Slowly stream in the milk while stirring constantly. The mixture will begin to come together and thicken. Stir in the nutmeg.
Add in the spinach – it will seem overwhelming at first, but it will quickly cook down! Stir until it cooks down and softens.
Once the spinach cooks down, stir in almost all of the cheese (reserve a bit for topping) and the pasta. Toss it together over and over until it is combined.
Top with the remaining grated cheese. Top with crispy onions. Bake for 35 to 30 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
I mean I’m pretty sure this is what they mean by eat your greens.