Healthy Mac and Cheese with “Creamed” Spinach (Gluten-Free)

"Creamed" Spinach Healthy Mac 'n Cheese | No milk, no gluten, just a little cheese | Vegetarian Recipes | www.feedmephoebe.com

As I mentioned in my newsletter, a case of the stomach flu left me in a very unromantic state this weekend. Which meant poor Charlie was left no choice but to stay indoors eating this leftover healthy mac and cheese while I sipped bone broth and whimpered from the cold tiles of the bathroom floor.

But despite this blip that left me off solid foods for a few days, what I’ve been craving lately is cheese. Warm. Gooey. Glorious cheese.

Healthy? No. But necessary in frost-bitten February? In the words of the fictional Fargo-natives that Charlie and I binged on this weekend: you betcha.

Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com

I’ve pioneered a few gluten-free mac and cheese recipes, including this jalapeno-scallion version that fooled 20+ guests at a Southern-themed New Year’s Eve party that Charlie and I co-hosted a few years ago. The swaps are simple enough: I use gluten-free pasta (one of these brands) and either AP gluten-free, white rice or brown rice flour to make the béchamel thick and creamy.

But do these alterations make my mac any healthier? Probably not.

Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com

To satisfy my cheesy cravings this chunky sweater season, I decided to make a few more tweaks. For one thing, I wanted to limit the overall dairy in order to justify a handful of good shredded cheddar. And to justify eating a large bowl of this cheesy pasta, I packed in a good portion of green stuff (basically, combining my gluten-free mac and cheese with this healthy creamed spinach recipe). Here’s a little overview of where this mac falls on the healthy hedonism scale:

Health points…

Coconut oil for butter (I like this brand)
Brown rice flour for refined AP flour
Gluten-free penne for regular noodles
Almond milk + chicken stock for whole milk
Double the spinach…and
Just a cup of organic sharp cheddar

Hedonism points…

It’s still mac and cheese.

Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com

The coconut oil/brown rice flour/almond milk béchamel still makes the pasta super creamy, even with half the cheese. A shout out to my vegan comrades: I would be curious how this recipe fares without any cheese at all, and perhaps a little nutritional yeast mixed in. Report back if you give it a whirl.

Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com

For the rest of you though, if you’re craving a cheesy baked pasta that won’t make you feel like signing up for a week of Soul Cycle to offset your choices, this healthy mac and cheese with dairy-free “creamed” spinach is the answer.


Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com

From one healthy hedonist, to another,

Xo
Phoebe
Recipes-Logo Healthy Mac and Cheese with "Creamed" Spinach | Baked with gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel! | www.feedmephoebe.com

Healthy Mac and Cheese with “Creamed” Spinach (Gluten-Free)

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Serving Size: 4-6

Healthy Mac and Cheese with “Creamed” Spinach (Gluten-Free)

This healthy mac and cheese recipe is packed with lightened up "creamed" spinach, gluten-free pasta and an almond milk béchamel!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil (get a FREE jar here)
  • 12 ounces gluten-free penne (I used Felicia Bio)
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons AP gluten-free flour or brown rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 10 ounces baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup white cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a large cast-iron skillet, casserole pan, or a 9 × 13-inch baking dish, and set it aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook, following the package directions, until 2 minutes shy of al dente. The pasta should still have a bite to it. Drain, and shake out all the water.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallots until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper and cook for another minute. Sprinkle in the flour and stir to coat. Cook for a minute, then whisk in the salt, milk, and broth.
  4. Simmer until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 4 minutes. Carefully fold in the spinach in two batches. Cook until wilted, 2 minutes.
  5. Add the cheddar cheese and pasta and stir until very well coated in the spinach mixture. Transfer to the prepared dish and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with the Parmesan (if using).
  6. Bake the mac ‘n cheese until melted and crisp on the top, about 15 minutes. You can pop it under the broiler for a few minutes if you want the top to get extra brown and crunchy. Serve immediately!

instagram  If you make this, share a photo and tag me @PhoebeLapine #feedmephoebe - I would love to see it!

http://feedmephoebe.com/healthy-mac-and-cheese-with-creamed-spinach/

Check out these other great dishes from Food Network’s #ComfortFoodFeast

Creative Culinary: Mediterranean Vegetable Stroganoff with Ricotta and Parmesan Cheese
The Lemon Bowl: Cheesy Enchilada Bake with Shredded Pork and Spelt
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Rice ‘n Cheese
Dishing with Divya: White Beans and Spinach Enchiladas with Spicy Jalapeno Sauce
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Beef Enchilada
Healthy Eats: 6 Better Ways to Put Cheese on Everything
TasteBook: Southwestern Cheese Crisp with Chipotle Ranch Dip
The Mom 100: Spiralized Cheesy Butternut Squash and Carrot Casserole with Chicken
Taste with the Eyes: Crispy Shaved Brussels Sprouts Flatbread with Bleu Cheese
FN Dish: 5 Dishes That Are Even Better As Cheesy Casseroles

Yum

Comment10 Share This!

10 Responses to Healthy Mac and Cheese with “Creamed” Spinach (Gluten-Free)

  1. What a gorgeous recipe – I had to come over from Pinterest and check out your blog. I can already tell I’m going to be a big fan. Yum!!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Yum, looks great. Why is almond milk considered healthier than cow’s milk? Especially if you are using cow’s milk cheese.

    • Very fair question Lindsay!! I try to go with plant-based options whenever possible, so while this recipe isn’t vegan (cheese!), I tried to cut down on the dairy as much as I could. For me, whole milk doesn’t have half the reward of cheese (I never loved it growing up either), hence the easy swap for almond. But by all means use whole milk if you process dairy no problem! You’ll still get some health points with the spinach 🙂 xo

  3. Pingback: Easy Mexican Breakfast Pizza Recipe | Healthy

  4. We never tried almond milk&chicken stock instead of milk in a Mac n Cheese before, we’re very curious as to how this tastes:) It’s really intriguing for us omnivores, and since we do enjoy some mac n cheese (it’s one of those nasty habits we acquired over the Internet, as the dish is virtually unknown here), this looks like a healthier way to have it! Thanx so much Phoebe!
    xoxoxo

  5. Pingback: How-To Cook for a Low FODMAP Diet - Feed Me Phoebe

  6. Lamont says:

    Fellas who of you play Pokemon GO? Incredible game, finally
    Machamp has been caught using pokebusterbot. With this bot you can catch pokemons on autopilot!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *