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The Very Popular…Moni’s “Healthy” Quinoa Mac N’ Cheese

Moni Quinoa Mac N Cheese

Back by most popular demand!!! This is a protein packed alternative to Mac N’ Cheese, and well…Delicious!  There is no reason we can’t have it all.

On top of it all, my Moni Meal recipe is going to leave you feeling recharged and NOT sluggish like most comfort foods do, right? Quinoa, pronounced “KEEN-WAH!” is SO good for you.  WHY? Well, Quinoa packs a powerful nutritional punch and is just so versatile. It has protein and fiber to keep you satisfied, improves your overall health, and Quinoa contains ALL the amino acids as well.  Remember, too, that it is actually a seed and not a grain. ;)

Moni's HEALHTY Quinoa Mac N' Cheese!

For this Moni dish…I of course add my beloved Heirloom tomatoes (when I can) or bell peppers but you could add any veggie- maybe mushrooms or spinach, anything you fancy really.  I love the leeks here too and this is really a one-of-a-kind Moni Meal. The eggs are so special here as when it goes off into the oven, it all is held together like glue.  Oooey-Gooey-delicious glue.

NOTES:

  • If you feel you are after the really “cheesy”-mac n’ cheese vibe… you may want to add a bit more cheese than what I use. (My recommendation keeps it lighter.) You can also use a stronger cheese if you fancy.
  • I serve this with a side of some sort of steamed veggies (or a salad) and a slice of a good hearty bread.
  • Also, you can dollop this with all the toppings you desire; so many flavors go good with this dish.

TIP: YES you can make everything AHEAD and then put in the fridge – then when you are READY –  just put it off to the oven to let all the work be done for you! Reheats lovely too!

Check out all my Quinoa Recipes here but for similar meals to this…Check out my Nutmeg Mac N’ Cheese , my 4 Cheese Baked Penne, and Mac N’ Cheese For Grown-Ups.  Enjoy~

Connect with Moni on Face BookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram @monimealfitness  (-to get a look of my everyday eats!). Grab a recipe or two at www.monimeals.com before you head over for a quick workout at www.monicanelsonfitness.com.

EAT WELL. STAY FIT. FEEL GREAT.

Moni xx


Servings

Can serve 6-8

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)-OR chives are fine too
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato, or red/green pepper (other veggies work too)
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained (OR you can just use pre-cooked and cut back on the water and cooking time)
  • good pinch of salt
  • a few grinds of seasoning salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups of water (or stock)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk,  milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese – (or can use a stronger cheese of your choice too), + more for sprinkling- NOTE: (You may find you need more cheese, BUT I use this amount to still keep the dish ‘lighter’ yet very flavorful.)
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions (you get the picture)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add leek and tomatoes (or bell peppers-or any veggies you want really); cover and cook 5 mins or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins, or until grains start to turn opaque.  (They will not fully be cooked yet.)
  2. Add 3 cups water (or stock) and season with salt and the Seasoning Salt (I like Lawry’s or Everyday Seasoning). Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 mins or more, (depends and also what kind of quinoa you use) or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese (if you feel you need more cheese, add here.) Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. (Will seem a little “soupy,” do not worry, it will all mold together.)
  4. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko crumbs or Bread crumbs, add now. You can also sprinkle a bit more cheese on now if you prefer for toppingNOTE: (The Cooking TIME VARIES!). Bake 25-45 mins, (or until browned around edges.)
  5. Now you can toss with many toppings, some ideas: salsa, scallions, sour cream,  and hot sauce!  I serve with a side of steamed broccoli or a salad and a nice slice of good hearty bread.

NOTE: Many readers wanted to know how many calories this AMAZING meal has.  Divided into 6 servings:  339 Calories per serving.

Love Monica Nelson

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am not a Registered Dietitian. While my advice relies on my own personal experience and research, what has been successful for myself and others may be not best for you. You should always consult your doctor when making changes to your diet. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at moni@monimeals.com.

Comments

  1. Bre

    I’ve tried several different recipes for quinoa mac ‘n cheese, and this one was by far the best. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Jenny

    We made this tonight–super good for our first go at eating quinoa! :)

  3. Nicole

    I was very happy with this dish, although I would note to use a stronger cheese. I used with mozzarella and the cheese taste just didn’t come through, despite upping the amount. A more “melty” cheese might help, as well…

    This reheats very well, in the oven or microwave.

  4. Caroline

    Just made this recipe tonight, soooo delicious!!!
    I used sharp cheddar and then I only used 1c of quinoa and added 1c of cooked shredded cauliflower.
    Also added a little dijon mustard and paprika.
    Great recipe and will definitely be making again!

  5. Elena

    Hi! I made this with 1 Cup of non-fat greek yogurt instead of milk and added feta on top. It turned out fantastically! Thanks.

  6. Kristina

    Hi Monica, if I were to cook the quinoa beforehand, would I just add the leeks afterwards?

    • Hi Kristina, yes that should work fine. I would try to cook the leeks a lil… so they are translucent but this recipe is SO EASY and great it is hard to mess it up. Let me know how it goes!

  7. I just stumbled across your site for the first time, via Pinterest, and now I can’t leave! I’ll never ever leave! mwah hahahaha! Okay, just kidding, but seriously, a “healthy mac n’ cheese”…you know the way to a woman’s heart.

  8. TheaDingo

    Delicious recipe! This is the first time I’ve ever made quinoa, and maybe the 2nd time I’ve eaten it. Next time (oh, yes! there will be a next time for this recipe at my house), I’m going to add more cheese, and maybe more milk, or less quinoa, as mine was a bit dry…but with shallots, asparagus, spinach, garlic, and good, aged Wisconsin cheddar, it tastes amazing!!
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • Thank you so much for the nice words! I am so happy you loved it! That is the truth too with this recipe…you can switch it up and add lots of variations! :) Glad you have tried Quinoa!

  9. Jer

    Oh my gosh. This. Is. Amazing. My kids even love it and don’t care about the vegetables in it. We used baby bella mushrooms in it and it’s AMAZING.

  10. Deborah

    Have you tried freezing this? I added diced ham and less cheese and it seemed more like a hashbrown casserole than a mac and cheese, so it would be perfect if frozen into individual portions. Pop in the microwave on a weekday and done. I’ve just not frozen quinoa before. If there was enough I was going to try it, but we ate it all. Yum :)

    • Hi Deborah! That sounds just AWESOME! I have not tried to freeze it yet. I think a few others have and had success. Let me know if you try it. :) Moni

  11. WES

    I made this over the weekend, but my little one is allergic to eggs so I used an egg substitute and it was great. I also added bacon bits too (I cooked the bacon first and then broke it up into tiny bits and then folded it into the mix before I put it in the baking dish.) I really liked this a lot, and I ate it cold the following day and it was just as tasty as warm.

  12. Diane in Wisconsin

    This was great. I made a Pinterest board of Quinoa recipes and your recipe has been sitting there for a while. Today was it’s day!! Awesome. Thanks for sharing

  13. Monica Nelson

    So glad you liked it and your photos are STUNNING!

  14. Monica Nelson

    Your version looks great! Yum. :)

  15. Monica Nelson

    I am so glad you got to make my recipe. :) Your version turned out great! Love the mix of cheeses…GOOD CALL! Have a great day. Love your blog too. :)

  16. Monica Nelson

    Family Kitchen Blog, you made a great version and I loved how you are getting the message out there about how great Quinoa is! :) Glad you liked this recipe. How could you knot, right?! ;)

  17. Monica Nelson

    Hi Kelsey!
    I am so glad you made my recipe and for a group of friends too, hope they all enjoyed it. :) “Gourmet Dinner” is right!

  18. Monica Nelson

    A perfect spring dish too! Glad you liked it Brittany. :)

  19. Monica Nelson

    I love the version you made Sally! Wow, cauliflower is such a good idea to add in. I am glad it did not disappoint and how could it with it still being a healthy version of a classic and so darn tasty right! :)

  20. Monica Nelson

    Yum! Your version turned out great! Glad you tried it and LIKED it… more importantly. :)

  21. Monica Nelson

    Your version looked great! Thanks for the link back and I am so glad you made it. :) Love your blog too!

  22. Monica Nelson

    Hi Prep Crew! Thanks for the pingback and your version looked great! It is the best way to eat Quinoa, right!

  23. AWESOME! I love that you made my recipe but I love the smile face even more!! Glad you liked it. Be well and Cheers!

  24. Your vesion is awseome! Moni Quinoa Bites- I love it! Glad you liked them Meg. :)

  25. Morgan S

    What happens if you forgot to put the milk in when you baked it?? I forgot to put it in but i put the egg… so after it was fully cooked i added the milk and mixed it all up… going to cook it again for 5-10 minutes. will this work or is the recipe ruined?

  26. Great to here! Thanks for sharing. :)

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