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 nutritional benefits of quinoa. It keeps perfectly for lunch all week and is comfort food you can feel good about serving your family.
The whole family loves Mac and Cheese, and 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 one to try.
I also love the slightly more indulgent Ultimate Veggie Mac and Cheese, which is a great way to sneak veggies into your homemade mac and cheese.
Today, I've got a different twist on Healthy Mac and Cheese for you - Quinoa Mac and Cheese.
Even the pickiest of kids have a hard time resisting anything in a creamy cheese sauce.
That makes this Cheesy Mac a great healthy mac and cheese for kids. Even the picky eater in the crowd will love it!
Ingredients for Making Cheesy Quinoa
Quinoa: I recommend using white quinoa for this casserole. Don't forget to rinse it.
Broth: For the fullest flavor, use homemade vegetable broth.
Salt and Pepper: Adjust the amount to your liking.
Butter: Use unsalted butter if you would like better control over the salt level.
Thickener: You can use either cornstarch or arrowroot powder to thicken the sauce. Or, if you prefer, gluten-free flour would work as well.
Garlic: I like fresh minced garlic, but a teaspoon of garlic powder could be substituted.
Milk: You can use any milk that you like.
Seasonings: Dry mustard and cayenne pepper give a nice punchy flavor without making it too spicy for most kids. If you have kids that are extremely sensitive to heat, feel free to omit the cayenne pepper.
Cheese: I used a blend of cheddar cheese and Colby, but feel free to use any cheese you like.
Breadcrumbs: You can buy gluten-free breadcrumbs at most grocery stores.
- 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
Use 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.
Tools Needed to Make Quinoa Mac n 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
You can store this quinoa macaroni and cheese recipe in the refrigerator for up to four days. It may be frozen for up to three months.
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.
- Looking for an easy, cheesy casserole with zero guilt? You are going to love this 7-Ingredient Quinoa Spectacular.
Cheesy Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups quinoa rinsed
- 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ½ cups milk
- ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ 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.