Green Goddess Mac and Cheese

Get your power greens in this macaroni cheese! This pasta inspired by Green Goddess dressing has loads of baby spinach and parsley, plus garlic, white sharp cheddar, and Parmesan.

Green Goddess Mac Cheese
Elise Bauer

One of the best things about St Patrick's Day is that it gives us a great excuse to paint the town green, right? Thus the inspiration for this Green Goddess macaroni and cheese.

It's an unapologetic homage to vibrant green veggies (in this case spinach and parsley), wrapped in silky sharp cheddar béchamel, tossed with elbow macaroni pasta.

There is a salad dressing called "Green Goddess" that was popular for a time in the 70s. It has garlic, sour cream, parsley, tarragon, and anchovies, and is absolutely delicious. This mac cheese is sort of a riff on that dressing.

Green Goddess Mac Cheese
Elise Bauer

I've even included anchovies as an option if you have them (if you've never cooked with anchovies, they don't make food taste like fish, they just make savory food taste better), but you can use Worcestershire sauce instead if you like, or leave either out entirely if you want a vegetarian dish.

The recipes uses a full 1/2 pound of baby spinach, and a large handful of fresh parsley, so it really is packed with greens. You could probably sub out some of the spinach for basil or chard too. Feel free to experiment!

Green Goddess Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 60 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings

We are using fresh baby spinach and parsley for this recipe. If you want, you can use defrosted frozen spinach, about 1 cup, and skip the blanching in step 1.


  • 8 ounces baby spinach

  • 1 bunch parsley, tough stems removed, about 1 cup packed of leaves

  • 1/2 pound (2 cups) dry elbow macaroni pasta

  • Salt for pasta water

  • 1 tablespoon cream

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 cups milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence (or dry tarragon or Italian herb mix)

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and/or 2 finely chopped anchovies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Special Equipment

  • Food processor


  1. Blanch the spinach and parsley:

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the spinach and parsley and blanch for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to remove the wilted spinach and parsley to a bowl of ice water. (Do not discard the blanching water, you will use it to cook the macaroni.)

    Elise Bauer

    Strain the spinach and parsley. Wrap in paper towels and squeeze out excess moisture.

  2. Use the blanching water to cook macaroni:

    Return blanching water to a boil. Add salt to the pasta water, 1 tablespoon salt for every 2 quarts of water. Add the macaroni pasta and cook until very al dente. (If the box of macaroni says to cook it 7 minutes, cook it 5. It will continue to cook and absorb moisture once you mix it with the sauce.)

    Drain the macaroni, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, and set aside.

  3. Purée the spinach with cream:

    While the macaroni is cooking, in a food processor, purée the cooked spinach mixture with the tablespoon of cream until smooth. Set aside.

    Elise Bauer
  4. Make the roux with butter, garlic, flour:

    Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a thick-bottomed pot on medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 20 to 30 seconds. The butter should bubble and foam. Add the flour and whisk to form a paste. Lower the heat to medium and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  5. Slowly add the milk:

    Slowly add the milk, whisking as you add it to break up any clumps of flour. Increase the heat to medium high and let the mixture come to a simmer, continue to whisk.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer

    Lower the heat to medium low and let cook until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

  6. Add the dry mustard, pepper, herbs, Worcestershire:

    Stir in the dry mustard, black pepper, herbs, and Worcestershire sauce.

  7. Add the cheeses:

    Whisk in the grated white sharp cheddar and grated Parmesan. Stir until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.

    Elise Bauer
  8. Add the puréed spinach and parsley:

    Stir the puréed spinach and parsley into the sauce. If using finely chopped anchovies, you can add them in now. Taste the sauce for salt. Add more if needed.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  9. Add the cooked macaroni:

    Stir in the cooked drained macaroni pasta. The pasta will continue to absorb liquid as it sits in the sauce, so don't be alarmed if the mac cheese seems really loose (the macaroni will continue to absorb moisture as it sits). Stir in lemon juice.

    Elise Bauer

    At this point you can eat as is, or you can put into a casserole, top with a little more cheese and broil it for 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
520 Calories
31g Fat
36g Carbs
26g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 520
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 39%
Saturated Fat 18g 89%
Cholesterol 87mg 29%
Sodium 768mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 26g
Vitamin C 25mg 123%
Calcium 677mg 52%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 518mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.