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If you’re looking for a way to brighten up and lighten up your old favourite mac n’ cheese, this easy mac and cheese bake could be for you. Made with a quick secret ingredient ‘sauce’, it’s much lighter than a classic macaroni cheese. I also add feta and spinach for a surprising Greek style twist!
This is a delicious and creamy baked mac and cheese that the whole family will love. But what? No sauce? Well, sort of… Read on to find out what the secret ingredient is!
Why choose THIS baked mac and cheese recipe?
I don’t have to tell you how many thousands of macaroni cheese recipes there already are out there. So why even take a second glance at this one?
- You simply blend together 3 main ingredients for a light and creamy ‘sauce’ that makes itself in the oven while your Greek mac bakes.
- This is made with evaporated milk. This makes for a delicious sauce without the heaviness of a classic mac and cheese sauce with flour!
- Need a tasty and nutritious meal in a hurry? This is ready and on the table in just 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs and parmesan over the top for a simple crispy, cheesy topping.
- Fan of Greek spanakopita? The feta cheese and spinach in this make it a pretty unique mac and cheese recipe.
- This is equally as good as a main dish or a side – your choice!
- The end result is an oozy, gooey, lightly crispy but not too rich Mediterranean twist on this easy classic!
But… this recipe is not for everyone!
I’ll be honest with you. If you like the sort of macaroni cheese that’s all about the sauce, this is probably not the recipe for you.
If however you’re curious about the idea of a version with a sauce that’s delicious but on the lighter side, give this more traditional macaroni and cheese a try! (it’s a leftovers mac and cheese, but you can add anything you like to it, or keep it plain)
Greek mac and cheese ingredients
For the ‘sauce’ (3 – 4 main ingredients)
- evaporated milk
- CHEESE! [I recommend gruyère, or a Swiss cheese like Emmenthal. Sometimes I use just cheddar, because that’s what I have, and perhaps some mozzarella for extra gooey-ness. And of course feta – otherwise how could I call it a Greek mac and cheese?]
- optional nutmeg
Other ingredients (3 – 4)
- wilted spinach
- optional panko breadcrumbs and parmesan (although highly recommended!)
How to make it
(Photos 1-2) Make your ‘cheat’s sauce’: Just pulse a can of evaporated milk, grated cheeses (any, but include feta!) and eggs in a food processor. NO FLOUR AND ROUX BASED SAUCE NEEDED! If you don’t have a food processor, just whisk by hand.
(Photo 3) Wilt spinach. LOTS of spinach.
(Photos 4-6) Stir the spinach and ‘sauce’ into some cooked macaroni, then tip everything into a cast iron pan. If you don’t have a cast iron pan, an ordinary baking dish is fine.
(Photos 7-8) Sprinkle panko crumbs and parmesan over the top, and bake for about 15 minutes.
Call everyone to the table, because dinner is served!
Pro tip: Don’t wait to eat! Because the sauce is quite light, this is best eaten immediately before the pasta starts to soak it up.
What to serve with it
I usually serve this pasta bake with some kind of simple roast chicken. We have our chicken on the side. If you prefer though, shred supermarket cooked/rotisserie chicken into your mac and cheese before you put it in the oven.
Alternatively (perhaps you’re a vegetarian?), add halved cherry tomatoes, jarred marinated artichokes, or chopped spring onions.
Or just keep it super simple and serve it on its own!
Can I make this ahead?
Erm… no. The sauce is so light and simple that it’s easily soaked up by the pasta… so serve and eat pretty quickly!
What you could do is prepare everything ahead. So cook the pasta (drain and drizzle over a little oil to stop it sticking), wash and wilt the spinach, grate the cheese, and even whisk up the sauce in the blender. Then all you have to do is stir everything together, pour into a baking dish, sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, and bake!
Can I reheat it?
Again, because the pasta can quickly soak up the sauce, this doesn’t really reheat very well.
However… I do reheat leftovers in the microwave for myself. I enjoy it, but it’s much drier than when first baked. I sometimes reheat it for a few minutes in the microwave. I add a drizzle of milk for added moisture, and cover with plastic wrap with a few holes in it to let some steam escape. Or see below!
So what can I do with my leftovers?
Don’t throw away the leftovers! Try these ideas:
- Got a waffle maker? (affiliate link) Make leftover macaroni cheese waffles! I wasn’t sure about this idea, but it actually works really well. Simply squish your leftovers into the waffle maker and cooker for 7 to 10 minutes. Delicious dipped into warm marinara sauce! < The leftover risotto arrancini recipe in this post isn’t bad, either 😉
- If you don’t have a waffle maker, but you have an air fryer, try these delicious Air Fryer Macaroni and Cheese Balls.
- If you don’t have an air fryer, follow this recipe for fried mac and cheese. Just follow the recipe from step 6! (^ also delicious with marinara sauce)
More 30-minute meals
- Creamy lemon chicken orzo soup
- Easy baked gnocchi with sausage, peppers and tomatoes
- Moussaka penne (Greek beef and eggplant pasta bake)
- The simplest stovetop chicken and rice
- OR check out all my easy midweek meals!
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, LET ME KNOW HOW YOU GET ON BY LEAVING A COMMENT AND RATING BELOW… AND DON’T FORGET TO SIGN UP TO RECEIVE ALL MY NEW RECIPES BY EMAIL!
30-minute Greek mac and cheese bake
- 9 ounces macaroni
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or a mixture of cheeses e.g. gruyère, Swiss cheese, provolone…)
- 1 cup feta cheese (crumbled)
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese (grated)
- 14 ounces evaporated milk (1 can)
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
- 10 ounces spinach
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp panko breadcrumbs (optional but recommended!)
- 1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven to 220C/430F.
- Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions, then drain and tip back into the pan. Stir through a drizzle of oil and put a lid on the pan to stop it sticking and drying out.
- Meanwhile, pulse the cheeses, milk, eggs and nutmeg (if using) in a food processor until combined (about 10 seconds). Set aside.
- Wilt the spinach in a roughly 10 inch/26 cm cast iron skillet/frying pan (if you have one – see notes) for a few minutes, then tip into the pan with the pasta.
- Add the evaporated milk ‘sauce’ and combine well, then pour into the cast iron pan. Smooth down, then sprinkle evenly with the breadcrumbs and parmesan.
- Bake for about 15 minutes or until nicely golden and bubbling. Serve immediately.