Mac Attack Series | Spinach Artichoke Mac

March 26, 2018 , In: Eat, Recipes , With: No Comments

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“Woah, we’re half way there! Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” -Bon Jovi

That’s right we are halfway through this Mac Attack series! And now (since I’m feeling particularly musical today), to quote The Cha-Cha Slide, “it’s time to get funky!” From this point on we are spreading our wings and making some fun spins on Mac and cheese. Some may start with a basic recipe, but some will take on a life of their own. Today’s Mac does just that! Slightly inspired by my grown-up Mac and cheese, this recipe is a nod to a classic appetizer dip that kids seem to love, despite the veggie content, Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

Before I go on… Did you miss last week’s Homestyle Mac and Cheese? If you’re like me you grew up with two different versions of mac and cheese, the blue box for a quick dinner or the “Company’s Coming” mac and cheese that had real shredded cheese in it. Homestyle Mac and Cheese is my dairy-free version of the later. Be sure to check it out!

Spinach Artichoke Mac

Like I said earlier, this creation stemmed from the idea of mixing spinach-artichoke dip with pasta. The trick was getting the sauce just right. I wanted to make sure this recipe had a thick and creamy sauce to bring this dish together. To make it so, white beans are added to the cashew cream sauce to give it more body in a lighter way than loading up on vegan dairy substitutes.

Not suitable for Vampires, but can be suitable for gluten-free humans.

Since I don’t use heavy or strong flavored cheeses in this recipe, the garlic and lemon become the major taste points here. This is especially necessary when using canned artichokes, as I find the brine to be an unpleasant and overpowering flavor. If you are just reading about the Mac Attack Series and are gluten-free, GOOD NEWS, 99% of these recipes can easily be made gluten-free by swapping in your favorite gluten-free pasta! I like to undercook the gluten-free pasta by a minute or two so that it doesn’t get too mushy in the recipes that

A couple kitchen tips:

  • There is quite a bit of garlic in this one. To soften the harsh sting of raw garlic in the sauce, roast it first! Here’s a great tutorial.
  • The lemon brings a bright fresh flavor to an otherwise rich and hefty dish. The juice is added to the sauce to help cut through the richness. And the zest is sprinkled on top after baking for a bright fresh flavor.
  • To zest your lemon easily, zest it while it is still whole. This gives you something to hold onto. After zesting the entire lemon, store zest in a glass dish wrapped in plastic wrap. Keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  • I use frozen spinach here. If you’re planning to make this, let the bag of spinach thaw in the fridge. You can absolutely thaw it in the microwave… but I always tend to burn my hands when I’m squeezing out all the water! Let it thaw by itself and there’s no chance of burning yourself on the hot water you’re working to expel.

I know I’m running this series on Mondays but next week’s mac makes me think of Tuesdays… TACO Tuesdays! Come back next Monday for Taco Mac and Cheese.

Mac Attack Series | Spinach Artichoke Mac

Mac Attack Series | Spinach Artichoke Mac


  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 4 med shallots, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 10oz bag Frozen Spinach, thawed and pressed to remove water
  • 15oz can Whole Artichoke Hearts, quartered
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-lb pasta
  • 3 cups creamy cashew sauce, recipe follows
  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • Breadcrumb Topping (Optional)
  • 1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted dairy-free butter (I like Earth Balance)
  • 3 TBSP dairy free Parmesan
    Creamy Cashew Sauce
  • 1 cup unsalted raw cashews
  • 4 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves Roasted Garlic
  • 2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy is used in the recipe book but I love the taste of almond milk in this one)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 of a Lemon


    For Creamy Cashew Sauce:
  1. In a blender, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, roasted garlic, 1 1/2 cups of non dairy milk, and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.*
  2. Transfer the sauce to a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Stir consistantly until the sauce is hot. Add more non dairy milk to thin the sauce out if necessary (You want to get it to an eggnog consistency on the stove as it will thicken more in the oven).
  3. *If not using right away, transfer uncooked sauce to an air tight container, and refrigerate until needed. This sauce will keep for 2-3 days. Just heat in a sauce pan over low heat until hot, stirring consistently.
    For Spinach Artichoke Mac:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add in the shallots and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Next, add in the artichokes and cook 3-5 minutes until some color starts to develop. Stir in garlic and add the wine and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  4. Drain pasta well, return to the pot, and add in the artichoke mixture, spinach, and the cashew sauce. Mix gently to combine then transfer to the baking dish.
  5. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, and melted butter. Top the Spinach Artichoke Mac evenly with the mixture.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, approximately 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with a light sprinkle of lemon zest and serve!
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Kaiti J

Welcome to Garnished with Gratitude! I'm so glad you're here. I'm Kaiti, a fan of healthy-ish ways, lists/plans, and I'm a total goofball. I'm here to create a space that provides resources to live your best life! From food and exercise to visualization and inspiration, this site is for you.

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