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Side photo of cavatappi pasta in a white sauce with spinach in a shallow white bowl on a dark grey background

Parmesan Spinach Mac and Cheese

  • Author: Jessie
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 1x


Easy parmesan spinach mac and cheese.



  • 3/4 lb. cavatappi pasta
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 3 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded parmesan cheese


  1. Cook the pasta in very salty water until al dente. Drain pasta and set aside.
  2. Return empty pasta pot to stove and turn the heat to medium.
  3. Add butter to pot and heat until just melted.
  4. Whisk flour into butter and let cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly stream milk into pot, whisking constantly to break up any lumps of flour. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sauce has thickened and just begun to simmer, about 7-10 minutes.
  6. Stir chopped spinach, salt, and pepper into sauce and cook 1-2 minutes more until spinach has wilted.
  7. Remove sauce from heat.
  8. Add cream cheese and shredded parmesan cheese to sauce and stir until cheese has melted.
  9. Return cooked pasta to sauce and stir to coat. Serve immediately.


Buy good parmesan cheese and shred it yourself – pre-shredded cheese is sometimes coated with preservatives  that will prevent it from melting smoothly.

Substitute 1 cup of frozen spinach for the fresh spinach if you like. Fresh arugula can also be used in place of the spinach.

Don’t forget to add plenty of fresh ground pepper to this pasta!

Feel free to bake this mac and cheese if you prefer. I recommend you follow the bread crumb and baking instructions in Mac and Cheese 101.

Add artichoke hearts, garlic, onions, and/or sautéed mushrooms to this macaroni and cheese for an extra boost of vegetables. You could also add steamed broccoli, peas, corn, or bell pepper.

For extra protein, add chicken, shrimp, bacon, or smoked salmon. Cook the meat separately and stir it into the pasta when you’re ready to serve.

Strict vegetarians can make this recipe with vegetarian parmesan cheese (the kind that does not contain rennet).

For a healthy twist, swap our favorite Magic Cauliflower Cream for the flour and milk in this recipe!


  • Calories: 541