This homestyle Baked Spinach Mac N Cheese is a healthier twist on a classic side dish. Perfect for office potlucks and holiday entertaining, this portable side dish is as simple as it is delicious!
What’s your favorite classic side dish?
I don’t need to tell you how wonderfully classic mac n cheese is. It’s a staple of your childhood. Mac n cheese is still one of my favorite foods of all time, and while I still indulge in the boxed variety too often, I absolutely love making this Baked Spinach Mac n Cheese dish for something a little more hearty and homestyle. Every event I attend, I get asked to make either a dessert or my baked mac n cheese. Not only is it delicious, but it travels and reheats well, making it the perfect portable side dish for potlucks and dinner parties. As classic as this recipe is, I add spinach in order to sneak in my vegetables in a tastier way and use a variety of white cheeses for a slightly sophisticated flavor.
A n0-fuss portable side dish perfect for office potlucks!
I also love that this spinach mac n cheese recipe is a two-pan meal. One for boiling the pasta, another for the sauce and baking. Thanks to my handy cast iron skillet, this becomes a really simple weeknight meal. Alternatively, if you want to take it to-go, you can mix the mac n cheese and sauce in one large pot and transfer it to a foil baking dish to bake and take with you. You can also make it ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then bake it when you are ready to eat it! It even freezes well!
How do you dress up a classic side dish?
Like any baked mac n cheese recipe, the breadcrumbs are important to the entire dish. I like to use Panko breadcrumbs and mix in some Italian seasonings so you get that golden crunch on top with a hint of rosemary and thyme flavors (and garlic, of course). For my white cheeses, I mix it up almost every time I make it. This time, I actually used Monterey Jack cheese, parmesan, and asiago. Let me tell you, Monterey Jack is a great choice for this recipe! I love the unique flavor it adds, and adding parmesan and asiago works with it for a little classic Italian flavor. This recipe is great with just about any cheese combo, including classic white cheddar!
I’m of the belief that all cheese is good cheese, so almost any white cheese combo would be delicious. Maybe not pepper jack? That’s one I haven’t tried.
I chop the spinach finely before mixing it with the cheese sauce so that you don’t get large chunks of spinach with each bite. After all, the cheese is the point of the recipe. The spinach is secondary, but I do love adding it to my pasta dishes as my vegetable of choice. If you want me to eat more vegetables, just throw it in a pasta dish and I’m good to go!
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 oz elbow macaroni noodles
- 2 1/2 cups shredded white cheese (half Monterey Jack, half parmesan/asiago)
- 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, mixed with Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp butter, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- In a large pot of water, boil and cook the macaroni noodles until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in an oven-safe pan over medium heat.
- Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
- Whisk in the flour to form a roux.
- Slowly add the milk and cream (or half & half) and whisk well. Mix in mustard powder, onion powder, and salt and pepper.
- Cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally until thickened and easily coats back of a spoon.
- Stir in cheeses until melted and add additional seasonings to taste. Remove from heat.
- Mix in the spinach until wilted, then add pasta and stir until well-coated.
- In a small pan, melt 2 tbsp butter. Add breadcrumbs (and Italian seasonings, if using) and cook over medium heat until lightly toasted, stirring often.
- Spread breadcrumbs evenly over mac n cheese skillet.
- Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbling. Turn oven to broil for 1-2 minutes until top is golden.
- Serve immediately, or store in a covered container to bake later. For best results, bake in an oven-safe pan to reheat.
Home Chef Tip: Use almost any combo of white cheeses for a slightly different taste! White cheddar and parmesan/asiago is just delicious.
We hope you enjoy this Homestyle Baked Spinach Mac N Cheese from SoFabFood Home Chef, Holly from Club Crafted, as much as we do. If you love this easy recipe, you can find more like it by visiting our Side Dish Section. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!