Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese: Macaroni & Cheese Gets a Healthy Makeover

Classic macaroni and cheese from a box gets an adventurous and healthy makeover with whole wheat elbow pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat cheese sauce, and marinated artichoke hearts.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

The secret is in the sauce. My low-fat cheese sauce starts with a roux made with extra virgin olive oil instead of butter, 1% low-fat milk and vegetable broth, and three cheeses including reduced-fat Cheddar.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Leftovers can easily be frozen.

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese
 
I'm not going to lie: I've made mac & cheese from a box plenty of times for my family. But when I do, I buy whole wheat varieties, and I often add "mix-ins" like beans and salsa, peas and tuna, or leftover chicken and sauteed mushrooms. And sometimes I make mac & cheese from scratch, because it's easy and it gives me more control over the ingredients. For this mac & cheese dinner, I turn to whole wheat pasta, convenient frozen spinach, a low-fat sauce made with three flavorful cheeses, and marinated artichoke hearts, which elevates the flavor even more.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 8 to 10
Ingredients
  • One 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 cups dried whole wheat elbow pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 bunch green onions, cut into thin rounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • One 6.5-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 generous cup)
  • 4 ounces Gouda cheese (use smoked Gouda if you can find it), shredded (1 generous cup)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊF.
  2. Drain the spinach in a colander. Press with the back of a large spoon to remove excess moisture. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta according to package directions until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a Dutch oven or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  5. Raise the heat to medium, add the remaining oil, flour, and pepper, and whisk constantly until smooth, 1 minute. Whisk the milk, broth, and mustard slowly into the flour mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the artichoke hearts, Cheddar cheese, Gouda, ⅓ cup Parmesan, and spinach until well combined. Add the cooked pasta and stir to combine. Spread the mixture evenly in a 9 x 13-inch baking pan or dish. Top with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and bake until bubbly and the top turns golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Notes
Bonus nutrients: 36% calcium, 22% iron, 90% vitamin A, 15% vitamin C.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: (1 generous cup), Calories: 320, Fat: 23g, Saturated fat: 7g, Carbohydrates: 31g, Sodium: 490mg, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 16g,

What are your favorite mix-ins for mac & cheese?

Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese via MealMakeoverMoms.com/kitchen #dinner #pasta #wholegrain #spinach #healthy

One response to “Spinach, Artichoke Mac & Cheese: Macaroni & Cheese Gets a Healthy Makeover”

  1. Yum! I love a good mac-n-cheese with extras πŸ™‚

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