Macaroni and Cheese with Chickpeas and Spinach

Macaroni and Cheese with Chickpeas and Spinach

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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  • Yield:serves 4
  • Active time: 30 minutes
  • Total time:30 minutes
  • Rated:


  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 4 cups roughly chopped spinach leaves (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 medium clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Half pound dry elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces grated American cheese
  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika


  1. 1.

    Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add spinach and cook, stirring until wilted, about 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Fill pot with salted water and bring to a boil.

  2. 2.

    Combine cornstarch, evaporated milk, and eggs in a small bowl and whisk until homogenous. Set aside.

  3. 3.

    Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking water. Return to stock pot and add cooking water, butter, evaporated milk mixture, both cheeses, spinach, and chickpeas. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until cheese is melted and pasta is creamy and smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with smoked paprika, and serve immediately.