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Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese Florentine

Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese Florentine

I'm going to share something with you and I know that quite a few of you will be shocked by my revelation.

Wait for it...

I didn't have Mac & Cheese until I was in college.

I know, I know! You're shocked. It just wasn't something that was served in my house and, well, I'm a little picky about what cheeses I will and won't eat. But I'm getting better.

But, thanks to my husband, Mac & Cheese is a staple in our house. Nothing easier those nights you come home and haven't the faintest idea what to make - and quickly.

This dish, however, you could prepare in the morning and come home to. It's one of the ultimate comfort foods and with this recipe, it's got a little more nutrition in it! (And yes, absolutely no actual cheese or dairy.) The recipe is a little unusual, but I have a feeling it could become a hit in my house on a regular basis!

Mac & Cheese Florentine
From Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

8 ounces elbow macaroni
10-ounce package frozen spinach, cooked according to package instructions and well-drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion
1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews
1 1/3 cups water
1 15.5-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs


1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the spinach and toss to combine. Set aside.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-size skillet over medium heat, add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. Grind the cashews to a powder in a blender or food processor. Add 1 cup of the water and blend until smooth. Add the onion, beans, and the remaining 3/4 cup water, the lemon juice, mustard, cayennne, and nutmeg and season with salt. Blend until smooth, then taste to adjust the seasonings. Pour the sauce over the macaroni and spinach and mix well.

4. Transfer the mixture to lightly oiled 4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 3 hours.

5. Close to serving time, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, stirring to coat them with the oil. Cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. When ready to serve, sprinkle the toasted crumbs on top of the casserole.

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scoop45 scoop45 9 years
Catipa Catipa 9 years
Another great recipe, thanks! I can't wait to try so many of them out :)
mominator mominator 9 years
I will have to try this. I rather take out the cashews and beans and just add some chicken or tuna to it. Maybe throw some bacon pieces in there. Oh yes. This is a good recipe to add and take away from. Thanks
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 9 years
That looks really good; thanks for posting this.
ALSW ALSW 9 years
Good question. I imagine that if cashew butter doesn't have much else in it, the flavor wouldn't change much. Give it a try!
lisabunny lisabunny 9 years
I wonder if you could use cashew butter instead of grinding the cashews?
Hootie Hootie 9 years
My boys will love this one!
ALSW ALSW 9 years
It was the spinach that made me double take and read it again. I thought to myself, What a great thing to add - healthy and fitting! Nope, never had mac and cheese. I'm pretty sure that even if my mother had made it, I wouldn't have eaten it. And my father apparently loved his mom's, so nothing would do for him except hers. You know how that goes. And the hubby and I are trying to eat healthier - so less cheeses and more spinach!
ccsugar ccsugar 9 years
Sounds a lot healthier than regular mac and cheese! And I cannot believe you never had it til college!! This was a staple in my house growing up, both Kraft(crap)-in-a-box, and my mom's own recipe. I'll definitely save this, sounds very intriguing. And I like how in the photo it's the wagon wheel pasta, I'd use that too rather than plain ol' elbow!
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
hmmm.. thats an interesting way to make it. The ingredients totally threw me off. I do love my mac and cheese though - so Im definately gonna give this one a try.... pressing print now!!! :D
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
sounds very strange but I would be willing to give it a try! I like the idea of spinach in it
ALSW ALSW 9 years
This particular recipe is a misnomer really - it's not mac and cheese at all. Just a Mac & creamy sauce recipe. But, yes, at home, when we're lazy, we'll use the cheese mix from the box. I'm not a huge fan, but it works in a pinch.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
do you just use the cheese in the box mix?
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