Comfort foods are in high demand at this time of year and today’s post features a well-known comfort food recipe – Macaroni Cheese. With a twist. The twist is twofold actually. First of all I’ve lowered the fat content of this high calorie old classic to make it a little healthier (I compared my recipe with several other macaroni cheese recipes and they all had more fat!). Secondly, I used spinach to add some fiber and veggie goodness to the sauce, not to mention the colour! I love colour in my food (I might have said that before), bright green especially! By the way, it is important that you don’t actually cook the spinach but only heat it up briefly so that it stays bright green (see the instructions).
I’ve lowered the fat content of this recipe simply by using less cheese. The sauce is still wonderfully creamy as I’ve used full fat rather than reduced fat cheese. I tend to use full fat ingredients in general (with the exception of the semi-skimmed milk in this recipe), only in smaller quantities, as I want great flavour without the extra calories.
I have used my simple white sauce recipe as the base for this low fat spinach sauce by halving the ingredients to make room for the cheese and spinach mixture (which also required a little more milk than the amount I used in my original white sauce recipe). The sauce is still very simple to make, despite the additional ingredients. This recipe is the perfect easy weeknight vegetarian dinner idea (served on its own or with a simple salad perhaps) but it also makes a tasty side dish, great with either grilled chicken or turkey.
I’d love to know what you think about this recipe so please leave a quick comment before you go! Thanks:)
Yields 4 portions
5 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
20 minTotal Time
- 300 g macaroni (uncooked)
- 150 g spinach
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 50 g Cheddar cheese, grated
- 30 g parmesan, finely grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 300 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 20 g butter
- 15 g flour (roughly 1 heaped tablespoon)
- Salt and white pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta in salted water with the bay leaf according to the packet instructions (al dente is best).
- While the pasta is cooking make the sauce. Heat up the oil and fry the onion and garlic for a couple of minutes on a low heat, stirring often, then add the spinach. Stir, season and cook on a medium-high heat for about a minute, until the spinach decreases in volume (stirring all the time). The spinach only needs heating up. Remove from the heat before the mixture becomes watery. Puree until the mixture is silky smooth. Set aside.
- In a saucepan melt the butter, add the flour and whisk until a paste forms. Gradually add the milk whisking all the time until the sauce thickens. Season and simmer for 3 minutes stirring often.
- Remove from the heat, add the spinach mixture, cheese and stir thoroughly until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Add the pasta, stir and serve.