Creamy spinach and gouda macaroni and cheese made on the stovetop – weeknight comfort at its best!
spinach and gouda macaroni and cheese

There is nothing red, white, or blue about any of this and while some would certainly decry that as a Memorial Day FOOD BLOGGER FAIL, I’m gonna beg to differ.

Because mac and cheese. On a MONDAY.

We are living wild, people.


Further proof that I am going a little bit bonkers crazy in the kitchen lately: twice now I’ve wanted to make a recipe from my friend Erin’s new cookbook, The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen, and twice I’ve come home from the grocery store missing a totally crucial ingredient (sometimes two)…forcing me to WING IT. Which is great when you want to develop an original recipe and terrible when you want to review someone’s cookbook. Arrgh.

Thankfully, the whole point of Erin’s cookbook is to encourage this kind of seasonal, on-the-fly cooking, so maybe I’m actually doing it right? Basically, the cookbook consists of 50 basic recipes that Erin then provides 4 variations on, one for each season. For example, in the book you’ll find a recipe for Creamy Mac and Cheese, followed by this Spinach and Gouda twist for spring, Sweet Corn and Pepper for summer, Sweet Potato and Rosemary for fall, and Mushroom and Onion for winter. Basically, there’s endless inspiration in here and it really makes you feel like creative, vegetarian cooking is doable even when you don’t necessarily have loads of time or expertise.


The first recipe I planned on making was Erin’s spring twist on stuffed peppers, filled with cheesy broccoli and barley…until I forgot to buy the broccoli. And the barley. And ended up stuffing them with random odds and ends from my refrigerator that were tasty except that I didn’t measure anything, making sharing the recipe pretty difficult. Sigh. Moving on.

Then, because I can never resist mac and cheese…I made her mac and cheese. Filled with fresh spinach and smoky gouda, this is totally indulgent without making you feel like you’re in a food coma after eating it. I chose to keep it as a stovetop mac and cheese in lieu of baking it (because that’s how I was raised), but you can do what floats your boat. If you opt to stick with the stovetop version, it will come together in as much time as it takes to boil water, making it perfect for any occasion where you need to get food on the table and fast: 

weeknight eating, midnight snacking, OHMYGOSH guests are coming over in twenty minutes and I have nothing to feed them panicking. I don’t discriminate. Or judge.

Spinach and Gouda Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy spinach and gouda macaroni and cheese made on the stovetop - weeknight comfort at its best!
Yield: 4-6 servings
  • 1 lb whole wheat pasta shells
  • 8 oz baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 8 oz smoked gouda, shredded
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add teh past and cook until just tender, 7-8 minutes, adding the spinach in the last minute of cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the onion, salt, and black pepper. Cook until the onions are translucent, 7-8 minutes. Add in the flour and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk slowly and heat until thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
  3. Toss the cheese sauce with the pasta and spinach. Serve warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th of recipe

More mac and cheese comfort:

spicy harissa macaroni and cheese

Spicy Harissa Macaroni and Cheese

buffalo cheddar mac and cheese with garlic croutons

Buffalo Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Garlic Croutons

macaroni and goat cheese with roasted red peppers

Macaroni and Goat Cheese with Roasted Red Peppers

From Around the Web:

Mason Jar Veggie Macaroni and Cheese from Framed Cooks

Hot Jalapeno, Corn, and Cholula Skillet Mac and Cheese from Veggie and the Beast

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese from Just A Taste

One Pot Spinach and Feta Macaroni and Cheese from Diethood

Cauliflower, Pea, and Edamame Mac and Cheese from Healthy Seasonal Recipes


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40 Responses to Spinach and Gouda Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Mondays are quick and easy pasta nights and this one looks like the clear winner for tonight! I love that Erin gives seasonal variations on the recipes, brilliant!

  2. I love the idea of smoked gouda in it! I haven’t had macaroni cheese in way too long.

  3. Mac and Cheese on a Monday, yes please! I love that you added spinach because, in my books, that makes this total health food 😉 Pinned!

  4. bellini says:

    I just adore mac and cheese. I can also totally relate to coming back home and not having all the ingredients to recreate the recipe. Thats when experience comes in handy.

  5. We love mixing some spinach in to our mac and cheese too. Although I haven’t made it with gouda before. That sounds seriously good.

  6. Krista says:

    Spinach AND Gouda! What a marvelous combination, Joanne. I haven’t had a good Gouda in ages. 🙂

  7. I love the add of fresh spinach in mac and cheese! YUM!

  8. This looks delicious and super duper healthy (always a plus). I am down for putting fresh spinach in ANYTHING. Also love the look of that harissa mac! Pinning 🙂

  9. I definitely need more gouda in my life…and on my mac and cheese! You have inspired me!

  10. Trisha says:

    I have a strong obsession with smoked gouda, so this mac and cheese is PERCET to me. The addition of green spinach will make me feel a little better about how much of this I am going to shove in my face!!! I’m feeling in need of some comfort food this week, and mac and cheese always fills that role for me!

  11. LOVE this gouda mac ‘n cheese! Looks so creamy and good – I bet the flavour is amazing!

  12. Kate says:

    We’ve been doing a lot of macaroni and cheese lately. The kid has been having it for lunch the past 2 days!

  13. SallyBR says:

    Absolutely loved the fact that you also come back from the grocery store missing “a few” ingredients. Story of my life

    your pasta dish would be very welcome at our table, even hubby would splurge and have thirds… 😉

  14. I consider this a food blogger win, really, because CHEESE AND PASTA.

  15. This looks sooooo GOUDA! HAHA! I also love lots of fresh ground pepper in my mac and cheese.

  16. Kim says:

    I feel your pain. I went to the store to get ingredients for a cookout today and forgot the chicken. Nothing like forgetting the main course!

    Mine was a total fail, but this mac and cheese is totally inspired. It looks delish. Wish I had a bowl right now!

  17. Zainab says:

    MAC and CHEESE on monday = I dig this!!

  18. Reeni says:

    This has my name written all over it! My favorites are all there and it looks so creamy and dreamy. I want to dive right in.

  19. This looks like the perfect comfort food to curl up to. It’s actually quite cold and gloomy in Northern California these last few weeks, making warm comforting pasta the perfect dinner 🙂

  20. easypeasy says:

    Oh my word!!! This sounds soooo good!!! 🙂

  21. Yep – we need this kind of comforting and warming food here at the moment:-)

  22. This is my kind of mac and cheese for sure 🙂

  23. Katerina says:

    Smoked cheese have a very profound taste! I bet these macaroni tasted heavenly!

  24. Hotly Spiced says:

    It’s not red, white and blue but it looks very good to me. I would love this! It’s definitely the kind of mid-week meal my family would really appreciate xx

  25. Teffy says:

    That sounds absolutely delicious!! I was just food shopping yesterday and saw some gouda, and I was so tempted to pick it up but since I wasn’t sure what to do with it, I left it behind. On my next trip, it is coming into my basket and I am making some pasta with it! X

  26. Kelly says:

    This looks mouthwatering! I love the smoked gouda and spinach in here! The ultimate comfort dish and perfect for everyday of the week!

  27. Pam says:

    I image the gouda gave this mac & cheese an extra special flavor. I also love the spinach in there. YUM.

  28. Emma says:

    So cruel of you to post this recipe immediately before bikini season. It looks so GOUDA (hah!).

  29. Erin’s cookbook sounds kind of genius and amazing! As does this super delicious looking mac n cheese…

  30. oh my gawd, this mac and cheese looks sooooooo good!!! Checking out The Easy Vegetarian Kitchen cookbook!!!

  31. I’m a big mac and cheese fan and have never made it with Gouda – this look wonderful!

  32. Susan says:

    I would eat this in a heartbeat! I love the sound of the smoked gouda – YUM.

  33. I cannot resist mac and cheese too, and this version with spinach and gouda (OMG gouda) sounds incredible! Bonus points that you prepared it on a stovetop – I’m too lazy/sweaty to turn on my oven right now.

  34. tigerfish says:

    I have never made mac and cheese at home before. Maybe I can start with spinach and gouda mac and cheese cos it just sounds too good!

  35. Beth says:

    You’ve sold me on both the recipe and the cookbook! Can’t wait to try them both.

  36. Those kinds of cookbooks are my favorite — I always want ways of switching up a recipe to keep it fresh, and it sounds like Erin has done all of the thinking for me. Plus, mac and cheese. So, obviously.

  37. Lynn says:

    Drool! Sorry, but Drool!

  38. Eileen says:

    Mac and cheese! YES. I haven’t had gouda in any form for several months at least, so I know what’s going to be happening at the grocery store soon! Plus, greens in mac & cheese are really what makes them great. So good.

  39. Looks fabulous.. i’ve made a similar pasta with spinach and parmesan cheese. so yum!

  40. Johanna GGG says:

    I find that going to the store for a particular recipe often finds me coming home without a vital ingredient – love these forgiving recipes and love smoky mac and cheese

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