Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach

One of the most interesting chapters of my highly treasured copy of Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries is the section entitled "contemporary curries." As if his more traditional Indian recipes weren't tempting enough, the fusion-style offerings are a must try for cooks looking to spice up Western dishes. A perfect example is this spicy version of macaroni and cheese. There are infinite ways to prepare mac and cheese, but I think this must be the first time I've come across an Indian-style preparation. I honestly cannot recommend this creamy combination of pasta, paneer and spinach highly enough. Paneer lovers like myself will certainly want to give this a try.

Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach

This is a stove top version, making it a good choice for hot summer days when you really don't want to turn on the oven but can't resist serving up an old classic with a special twist. You could also try this recipe with goat cheese or Feta instead of paneer with stellar results.

Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with SpinachIndian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
Recipe by
Adapted from 660 Curries
Cuisine: Indian
Published on June 25, 2009

A delicious "grown-up" Indian-style version of the comfort food classic, macaroni and cheese, with gentle spicing, wilted spinach, and tender pieces of soft creamy paneer cheese — this is a new classic!

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  • 2 1/2 cups dried macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons oil or butter
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 10 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 fresh red or green chilies, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 14 oz (400 g) paneer cheese, crumbled or mashed
  • 6 scallions, green and white parts, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the instructions until al dente. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Run cold water over the macaroni, and set aside.

  • Heat the butter or oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and stir and fry until they turn grey and begin to pop. Add the ginger to the pan and stir and fry for a minute or two.

  • Now add handfuls of the chopped spinach to the pan, stirring and frying until it starts to wilt. Continue adding handfuls to the pan, cooking and stirring, until all of the spinach is wilted.

  • Stir in the tomato, chilies, cayenne, turmeric, paprika, garam masala and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Add the reserved pasta cooking water to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the cooked macaroni and paneer. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the scallions and Parmesan, and continue to simmer for another minute.

  • Remove from heat and serve hot.

Makes 6 -8 servings

Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach

More pasta recipes from Lisa's Kitchen:
Vegetarian Mushroom Bourguignon
Penne with Indian-Style Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms
Pasta and Feta Cheese Casserole


Unknown said...

Wowww...Super delicious, never tried macroni with paneer..thats a very good idea, and health benefit.

Parita said...

This is pure heavenly, i love pastas and paneer, combination of these two is unbeatable!! delicious click lisa!

Pooja said...

Wow looks delicious! Macaroni with spinach,cheese, paneer n Indian spices..awesome!

Yasmeen said...

My son would love this ,he is crazy about any kind of cheese:)

Juliana said...

Looks paneer cheese. Yummie, the pictures are so tempting!

Preeti Singh said...

Looks so cheezy and yummy...delicious looking dish.

Anonymous said...

It's variety recipe.Thanks for sharing..

Vidya said...

mmm lovely. My little one would loooove this. Macaroni and paneer? Awesome combo!

FledglingCook said...

hello, i stumbled across your blog and have found a veritable goldmine :) i'm an indian living in switzerland and am constantly looking for ways to cook locally available ingredients with Indian spices. I made this for dinner tonight and it was a hit - my toddler especially loved. All her fav food (pasta, cheese, spinach) in one! thank you, lisa!

Lisa Turner said...

I'm delighted you enjoyed the paneer and macaroni fledgling cook! Thanks for stopping by.

Sara said...

This has me drooling.....sounds so amazing.

Unknown said...

wow cheese cheese pasta looks so yummy my favorite looks so delicious.

eatme_delicious said...

I wish paneer was more easily accessible to me! I'd love to try this. I'm definitely a macaroni and cheese lover! Your suggestion of using feta instead sounds really good too.. might have to try that. I love all the spices that are added to this too.

Astra Libris said...

Oh my goodness, Lisa, this sounds incredible! So creative! I can't wait to fix this soon - especially since it's a stovetop recipe! Yay! :-)

Laavanya said...

My daughter and I enjoy the usual mac'n cheese (and i add just a touch of chilli powder to it) but my husband finds it too bland - i must try this version for him.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

I still need to be able to find premade paneer, but homemade is easy to do as well.

Nupur said...

I'm surprised to see paneer in mac and cheese because paneer is a non-melting cheese...but that dish looks absolutely tempting!!

Joanne said...

I love the way you combined paneer cheese with an American classic. It's so interesting and I bet it tastes great!

Pari Vasisht said...

Hi My first visit here. Very nice combo of macaroni and paneer . I believe even the baked version will taste good.

Nicola said...

Wow, this looks really interesting, I'm definitely going to have to try it out.

Indian Cuisine Blogroll said...

Great recipe Lisa..tried the macaroni n paneer and loved it. I've put a picture in my blog

Unknown said...

Good combination of carbs and protein to have in breakfast... added vegetables give good nutrition...