Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mac and Cheese Not From A Box

As I work to stash away more vegetarian options for school days, I made mac and cheese. The real stuff, not the stuff that gives one the "Blue Box Blues". I've made it from scratch before, but this recipe gleefully tried from the Vegetarian Times is by far the best I've tried. Here's the paraphrased recipe, with my commentary in the directions.

Image copyright Vegetarian Times
Mac and Cheese for Grownups
2 c. whole-wheat pasta
1 lb spinach leaves (I substituted 12oz broccoli, slightly steamed)
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c flour
2 c milk (fat free is okay)
1/2 c cheese (I used cheddar, the recipe calls for grated Parmesan)
1 clove garlic (more or less to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (It says optional, but do it; it's delicious)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a 11x9 pan.
Cook the pasta according to the package or your normal style.
Cook the spinach in a pot 2 to 3 minutes until it wilts, stirring to heat all leaves. Drain and press out liquid, then coarsely chop. (Steam broccoli for a few minutes until soft but not totally cooked.)

Heat the oil in a (large-ish) sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened. (Congratulations, you've made a roux. It's a delicious recipe and great for normal white sauces, Alfredo, and is the basis for a lot of other recipes.) Take it off the heat, stir in the pasta, spinach (or broccoli), cheese, garlic, and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper if desired.

Sprinkle the top with 2 Tbsp of cheese, and bake 45-55 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
YUM Yum YUM. I found that the leftovers froze well, and then reheated in the microwave for a quick homemade lunch. Paired with a salad, it was hearty enough to get me through the day. I didn't get a picture of my version because I ate it all, first, so the picture above is from Vegetarian Times. 


  1. This was absolutely delicious. I actually made one batch with regular milk and one batch with rice milk. As expected, the regular milk batch was richer, but the nutmeg and other flavors shown through better in the rice milk. I also used cheddar within the sauce but sprinkled the top with cheddar and Parmesan, which made a nice cheese crust. Totally awesome. 5 stars for this!

  2. Thanks, Anon! Glad to hear it works well with rice milk, too.