This macaroni spinach and chicken bake is a lighter version than most pasta bakes. It has some cheese for flavour and a beautiful golden topping, but not so much that it takes over the other ingredients. And there’s no thick, creamy sauce. Don’t get me wrong – I love rich, creamy pasta dishes (ricotta pasta bake, creamy chicken and pasta, cheesy chicken spaghetti squash) but sometimes a girl wants an alternative. This is it.
Ingredients for Macaroni Spinach and Chicken Bake
I usually make this dish after the holidays, a vacation or some other event where I feel like we’ve been eating A LOT of heavy, rich foods and not enough whole grains or veggies. Do you ever feel like that? Veggie soups, grain bowls and this pasta bake are my go tos! What are yours?
Check out the ingredients:
Whole Wheat Macaroni – when it’s in a casserole like this, my family doesn’t mind
Leftover Cooked Chicken – perfect, high quality protein
Spinach – I’m a sucker for dark leafy greens (use fresh or frozen)
Canned Tomatoes – easy, convenient, affordable
Veggies – whatever is in the fridge or freezer (broccoli, peas, peppers, carrots, beans, etc)
Cheese – a blend of shredded mozza and cheddar is perfect – mostly for the top to attract the kids!
Flour – a little flour to keep the moisture under control
How to Make It
This is pretty straight forward.
Cook macaroni and drain well.
While pasta is cooking, cook your veggies until tender in a large pot. Add seasoning and chicken to heat through. Mix in some flour and let it cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and spinach. Heat until spinach is wilted and everything is as tender as you like. Give it a taste, adjust seasoning then add a bit of cheese and put it in a greased casserole dish. Cover with cheese and bake. That’s it!
Recipe for Macaroni Spinach and Chicken Bake
Macaroni Spinach and Chicken Bake
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 cups chopped chicken fully cooked
- 1/2 cup carrots shredded
- 1/4 cup red pepper diced
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp flour
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- 3 cups chopped fresh spinach
- 1 1/2 cup cheddar & mozzarella cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Cook pasta until just al dente. Drain.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots, red peppers, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and oregano. Stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.
- Add chicken and heat through.
- Stir in flour to coat evenly, cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Stir in diced tomatoes and spinach. Cook until spinach has wilted.
- Add cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of cheese. Mix well and transfer into a lightly greased casserole dish.
- Cover with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes.
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
One day, I might make a pasta bake without cheese! Is that even a thing? If you have a recipe – let me know!! Until then, this lightened up pasta bake is perfect.
If you try it, comment below or tag me if you post any photos. I’m on Instagram and TikTok @getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist.
Getty Stewart is a Professional Home Economist, speaker, frequent media guest and writer dedicated to putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of several recipe books on enjoying and preserving fruit, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener. Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this.