Pasta is such an easy meal to make with little effort. Many times dinner for us is a bowl of plain pasta with a drizzle of olive oil, grated cheese and a salad on the side. When I was growing up in the states I never experienced the famous American comfort food macaroni and cheese. My mom never made it, instead we usually had pasta with tomato sauce or with meat.
Of course, I was jealous of the other kids who got to eat this Kraft macaroni and cheese thing so recently, I decided to try it out for myself and see what all the fuss is about. I bought the ready made packaged stuff, as I had read that many people loved that type. I have to admit, it did not do much for me. I tried to make a homemade version too and still was not all that excited. Maybe it was the powdered cheese or the milky taste. In any case, I did like the texture so I tried to recreate something to my taste, that was also a bit healthier as well.
For the cheese sauce I melted some feta with some Greek yogurt and a bit of low fat cream cheese. I added pepper and several herbs (oregano, parsley, mint) and a bit of olive oil (no butter here). I also added vegetables to this dish, it’s a great way to incorporate them in the meal, and you can add whatever you have on hand. And I use whole grain pasta for the most part for the extra fiber.
In Greece, I believe in the 80’s it became in style to make pasta “soufflés”. Well it really is not a soufflé, but that is what they call it, even today. Basically it is pasta full of heavy cream, heavy cheeses (not Greek), eggs and bacon all mixed and baked in the oven. People here in Greece still serve it at parties. It is one of those unfortunate foreign inspired, non-Greek copy dishes, Greeks just love making…
In any case here you have an easy light dish that seems rich and creamy but without all those fats. You can serve for a simple lunch or a side dish.
Greek Style Mac and (Feta) Cheese
- ½ pound pasta
- 3 ounces feta
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2-3 tablespoons cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1 tablespoon mint
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 pepper chopped
- ¼ cup chopped olives
- Pepper/Salt to taste
- Preheat oven at 350 Fahrenheit (180 C)
- Boil the pasta according to the directions
- In a pan heat about 1 ½ tablespoon olive oil and sauté the onion and pepper until soft.
- Add the herbs and olives and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
- In a bowl mash the feta with yogurt and cream cheese until creamy. Add some pepper.
- Once the pasta in boiled, drain and put back in the pot and add the cooked vegetables and the rest of the olive oil.
- Add the cheese sauce and mix well. You can sprinkle a small amount of dry cheese such as parmesan on top.
- Pour into a casserole and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
Super flavorful dish that’s easy to make! I added celery for a bit of a crunch and it turned out so good! A good twist on Mac and cheese!
Thank you! Love the celery idea!
Hi Elena, thanks so much for all of your delicious recipes! I stumbled upon your website in January and ordered your book right away and have been using it every day ! It really has been en eye-opening experience for me to discover that I don’t have to eat meat or fish every day, I’m really enjoying eating this way. I am planning on making this pasta dish this weekend, I was just wondering – how many servings does your recipe make? I’m guessing 4 servings but I’m not sure..thanks!
Hi Elena, I am so absorbing all of your nutritional knowledge, absolutely fascinating and your recipes are a blessing to this diabetic with multiple health issues. YOU make more sense than doctors!!! I made this Greek Mac and Cheese for company, and added in tiny keftedes (your recipe for keftedes in a tiny version) and chopped tomatoes, it was absolutely delicious with a huge salad. Love all you do for us..God Bless you!!!
Looks delicious… How many servings does this recipe make?
Hi, me again. I accidentally sent my note before I was finished. I wanted to add that due to my digestive issues, I used just one tablespoon of oil and one tablespoon of cream cheese.
Thanks for sharing the tip Deborah!
I made this last night for dinner, and it’s the third time I cooked this. My husband and I thoroughly enjoy it.
Thank you for creating this!!!!
Thank you Deborah! Happy to hear that you enjoyed it!
I made this tonight and it was delicious! In fact, I have made several of your recipes and without exception all have been wonderful. Thank you for sharing your recipes and your knowledge about the Mediterranean diet. Your website is an invaluable resource. Please continue the work that you are doing – it is so appreciated!
Hi Lauren, Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate it!
Just made this for dinner. Skipped the olives, added ham…so I could pretend it was a main dish. So delicious!!!
What an inspiring web site! I learned so much. Thank you!
Bought lots of in season vegetables on the market today.
I’m sure I will find a tasteful way to prepare them on your site.
Looking forward to your recipes in future!
Thanks again and best from Crete,
Wonderful! Crete is beautiful! Thank you!
hi Elena – this sounds great and very different. Could you provide some ballpark figures on the nutritional values? Also, just curious why add the cream cheese, is it for texture or to break the sharpness of the feta a little?
P.S. I made your keftedes recipe, but made them biftekia instead (less work!) and everyone loved them. Thanks for the work you do, great stuff. Best, Christopher
Glad the biftekia/keftedes went well.
Yes, I add the cream cheese for some texture. For the past about 30% of calories are from fat, most of the fat is unsaturated and about 300 calories. You can limit some of the calories by spreading out the cheese sauce to more pasta.
I have never tried the staff that comes in a box, because I am terrified with the idea… I tried the frozen macaroni and cheese, that don’t taste too bad especially when there is real cheese in it. But with feta, even if I have never tried it, sounds good and I think I am going to like it…
In my opinion almost anything tastes better with feta!
This looks delicious! I love, too, that I can try to make it with goat and sheep dairy without any compromise. I think I’ll use the soft, spreadable goat cheese (like Chavrie, found in the US) instead of the cream cheese.
And, too funny, I know exactly what you are talking about re the pasta “soufflés”. My family in Athens always make this for special gatherings or parties, and I have never had any idea why!!! 🙂
Yes, you can use any soft cheese.
How funny, with those souffles.