If you are looking for a healthy recipe that kids love, give this Quinoa Mac and Cheese a try. This recipe is the perfect marriage of the creamy yumminess of traditional Mac n Cheese combined with the health benefits of quinoa. It keeps perfectly for lunch all week and is a comfort food you can feel good about serving your family.
Cheesy Quinoa is Healthy Comfort Food!
From that age of ten, my signature dish was Macaroni and Cheese.
From a box. The one with the powdered cheese sauce.
I can remember having discussions with friends about the proper way to prepare it. Because apparently, cooking was my thing even back then.
Although it has been many years since I’ve touched the boxed stuff, I still love my Mac and Cheese.
I have a traditional recipe, which my boys dubbed “Mom’s World Famous” when they were little. It is pure comfort food, but not exactly something that you want to eat every day.
Since the whole family loves Mac and Cheese so much, I am constantly trying to think up ways to make it fit into our everyday diets a little better.
Surprisingly, the results have been quite good. This Skinny Cauliflower Mac n Cheese is delicious and definitely one to try. I also love the slightly more indulgent Ultimate Veggie Mac and Cheese, which is a great way to sneak veggies in.
Today, I’ve got a different twist on Healthy Mac and Cheese for you – Quinoa Mac and Cheese.
I will be the first to admit that getting my kids to eat quinoa without complaint hasn’t always been easy.
Since even the pickiest of kids have a hard time resisting anything in a creamy cheese sauce, this Cheesy Mac is one way I can get them to eat it without a tremendous amount of complaining.
Do your kids eat quinoa without complaint?
Tips and Variations for Making Quinoa Mac and Cheese:
- Want to up the nutrition game even more? Try adding spinach or broccoli. Another great option would be sautéed red bell pepper.
- Want to make this recipe quicker? Cook a big batch of quinoa during your weekend meal prep and skip steps one, two and three under cook quinoa.
- To make Stove Top Cheesy Quinoa:
- Cook the quinoa as instructed.
- Make the sauce as instructed, ensuring your saucepan is large enough to add the quinoa to.
- Add the quinoa to the saucepan and heat through for five minutes.
- Skip the breadcrumbs and top with a touch of extra cheese if desired.
- Make Vegan Quinoa and Cheese by using unsweetened almond milk and vegan cheese.
- A Simple Green Salad is a lovely side dish for this recipe.
- Brussels Sprouts are so delicious and a great way to round out this meal.
- Green Beans with Bacon always hit the spot and are something even the kids get excited over.
If You Like this Recipe You May Also Like:
- Learn How to Cook Quinoa Perfectly and you will learn to love it even more!
- Vegan Black Bean Soup with Quinoa is pure comfort food. It is my go-to when I am craving a satisfying meal that will leave me feeling my best.
- Kid Friendly Quinoa Fritters are a family favorite. They will remind you a bit of hash browns, but you won’t find any potatoes in here.
- Mexican Quinoa Burgers are a fun veggie burger that is perfect for Meatless Monday.
Recommended Tools to Make Quinoa Mac and Cheese:
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- Fine mesh strainer to rinse quinoa
- 2 medium saucepans
- Food processor to grate cheese
- Garlic mincer
- Casserole Dish or Small Crocks
Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups quinoa rinsed
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 6 ounces Colby cheese grated
- 3 ounces gluten free breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with olive oil.
- Place quinoa in a medium saucepan and heat to medium high. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
- Cover and cook for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and place a clean dish cloth over the pot. Return lid to pot and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat. Add butter and cook until it melts. Whisk in cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Cook, stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and stir in for 30 seconds.
- Gradually add in milk, whisking to combine. Cook, stirring often, until milk mixture thickens, about 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and stir in mustard, cayenne, cheddar and colby. Cook over low until the cheese is melted.
- Stir quinoa into cheese sauce and transfer mixture to prepared pan. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and lightly spray breadcrumbs with olive oil.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes prior to serving.