Do your kids love mac and cheese? If so, they are going to love our quinoa mac and cheese recipe!
I’ve been hearing a lot about quinoa lately, but have honestly been a little intimidated to try it. “How do I cook it? What do I make with it? Will my family like it?” These were all questions that swirled around in my head before I finally decided to give it a try. With all of its wonderful health benefits, I just couldn’t wait any longer! Did you know that quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is:
- a complete protein
- high in iron and fiber
- naturally gluten-free
- a source of calcium (though not large, it’s great for vegans and those who are lactose-intolerant)
- a great alternative to rice and pasta
- easy to cook, that is, if you know how to boil water! The directions are right on the bag.
And what better recipe to start with than a mac and cheese-style dish!? I mean, who doesn’t love the cheesy deliciousness of mac and cheese? My kids and husband could seriously eat it every day, but I can’t help but cringe at what can be found in the standard boxed variety—artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, sodium, and who knows what else.
I’ve made this meal for dinner served with chicken, and I’ve also sent it to school as a side in a thermos lunch!
Be sure to check out MOMables meal plans, and you can ALWAYS know that the best and healthiest ingredients are going into your kid’s lunches!
The organic and homemade versions are certainly much better, but that’s still a lot of pasta. So having a healthy alternative is just icing on the cake. This version is not only packed with protein, it gets its gorgeous coloring from carrots of all things! How’s that for nutritious?
This mac and cheese alternative is the perfect side to go along with just about any dish. It’s easy to make, healthy, tasty, and both adult AND kid-friendly. Plus, the leftovers make a great school lunch the day after. Simply heat up the leftovers and pack them in a preheated thermos. They’ll still be warm come lunchtime!
Quinoa Mac & Cheese Supercharged!
- Yield: 6-8
- 3 medium carrots, peeled, washed, and diced
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese + extra for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Steam the carrots for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender (you can also steam them in the microwave).
- Place the cooked carrots, milk, Dijon mustard, and salt into a blender. Puree until smooth and creamy. Add a little more milk if needed (carrot size can vary), but the texture should be smooth, not liquid.
- In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, cheese, and carrot puree until combined. Transfer into a medium baking dish.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbly. If desired, top with additional shredded cheese and serve immediately.