5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

5-ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese....with a super healthy secret ingredient. Click to find out!

Seriously is there anything better than a bite of super creamy, cheesy goodness? It’s pretty much heaven on earth if you ask me.

Still to this day, even though I know how awful it is for me, I sometimes crave Kraft macaroni and cheese. It’s so weird, because that was never anything that I even ate growing up (we were an Annie’s family all the way). There’s just something about that box of junk delicious pasta that makes my mouth water (eww…I’m grossed out just writing that).

But for those of us who like to eat healthy not shove our faces with that orange-tinged pasta gook, you need to search for alternatives.

5-ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese....with a super healthy secret ingredient. Click to find out!

Which is exactly what we’re doing today. And we’re making it as easy as humanly possible.

The base of this quinoa mac and cheese is not the heavy cream or milk that you’re used to. In fact, we’ve used butternut squash to create the ultra creamy sauce. Instead of noodles, we opted for quinoa (which is packed with protein and nutrients of course). We’ve got a little cheese thrown into the mix, but for those of you vegans I’m sure Daiya or an alternatve.

So basically, what I’m saying here, is that is a 100% guilt free mac n’ cheese recipe that your entire family with gobble up – even the kiddos. It’s seriously addicting.

5-ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese....with a super healthy secret ingredient. Click to find out!

And since everyone loves mac n’ cheese…actually I don’t know if I’ve ever met a person that doesn’t like mac n’ cheese…I have a few more exciting things to tell you about that come along with this recipe.

This quinoa mac n’ cheese recipe is part of Mac and Cheese Mania being hosted by Rachel Cooks and Nutmeg Nanny! Which means, you all have the chance to win some super great prizes :)

Here’s what we’ve got: Door to Door Organics Gift Cards, OXO Gift Baskets, Zak Designs Prize Pack, a year’s supply of Cabot cheese, a Vermont Creamery gift basket, a risotto kit from Marx Foods, Barilla pasta, Anolon Advanced Bronze 4.5 Qt. Tapered Stockpot, Rachael Ray Stoneware Casseroval, Wusthof CLASSIC Studio Block Set, Microplane Graters and Kitchen Tools, a SavorX Starter Block with spices and Le Cordon Bleu by Swissmar oven to table roasters.

Yes, yes, and yes!!

5-ingredient quinoa mac n' cheese....for #maccheesemania

All you have to do to be entered to win is head on over to one of these lovely lady’s blog and link up your own mac and cheese recipe. And no, you don’t have to be a blogger, anyone can enter!!

Enter here at Rachel Cooks

Enter here at Nutmeg Nanny

Good luck to all who choose to enter!

And pretty please tell me what you think of this quinoa mac and cheese recipe! I swear, it’s like my favorite meal on the planet right now…

5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 - 6

5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Peel and seed butternut squash. Chop into 1" chunks, add to a stock pot, cover with 1" of water and boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender.
  3. Add almond milk and dijon mustard into blender and blend on high until silky smoothy and creamy. Add more milk as needed - texture should be thick, but easily pourable.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and add quinoa and cheese. Stir until combined.
  5. Spoon mac n' cheese into ramekins (or baking dish), smooth tops and bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until bubbly.
  6. Remove from oven, cool slightly and enjoy immediately.


Additional spice options:
- Paprika
- Tumeric
- Chili powder
- Hot sauce
- Salt & pepper


Mac and Cheese Mania is being sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO.



  • http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    Yesssss, I love quinoa but hot cheesy quinoa looks even better. Love this!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks, Becca! Can’t really think of a better combo than quinoa and cheese 😉 Plus it’s actually healthy – even better!

  • http://www.foodfaithfitness.com Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    I am still training myself to totally be IN LOVE with quinoa…but adding all the cheese is DEFINITELY gonna help spur that along. Plus, squash is my fav ever.
    Love that this has only 5 ingredients and is healthy!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      This would be a good recipe to try then :) It’s totally creamy and decadent, but actually good for you! Thanks for stopping by, Taylor :)

  • http://www.lovesweatbeers.com Tiff @ Love Sweat & Beers

    Oh yum – sounds like a winner to me!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks Tiff!

  • http://www.daisyathome.com Sarah

    Ohhh this sounds so interesting! I’ll be trying this one for sure.

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Would love to know how you enjoy it :) Your mac and cheese sounds lovely!

  • http://www.rachelcooks.com Rachel Cooks

    Love this (and I love Annie’s too…haha). Thanks for contributing this to mac and cheese mania!!!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks for having me! It was so fun and I’ve loved seeing everyone’s recipes!

  • http://www.RecipeGirl.com Lori @ RecipeGirl

    This looks soooo good!!!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thank you Lori!! What a fun event this was, I’ve loved seeing everyone’s creativity :)

  • http://dinnersdishesanddesserts.com Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts

    I am always looking for more uses for quinoa, this is such a wonderful idea!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks Erin! And umm…French Onion Mac N’ Cheese? Yes, ma’am, it’s calling my name!!

  • Sarah

    In a pinch, would pumpkin puree work just as well?

    Looks delicious – can’t wait to try it!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      I think so, yes! I just think the flavor would be a little different, but pumpkin mac and cheese sounds absolutely awesome to me :) Enjoy it!

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com Joanne

    I love that this is basically good for me in every way! Such a healthy alternative when that mac craving hits.

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      I was actually shocked how similar it tastes to the real thing! So, so good :)

  • http://www.thelittlekitchen.net JulieD

    I love this to pieces…going to have to try it with quinoa! thanks!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks Julie! The quinoa makes it a little more healthy, which I love :)

  • http://www.cravingsofalunatic.com/ Kim Beaulieu

    This is such a cool recipe. I love that you used quinoa. I’ve never seen goat cheddar. Now I’m intrigued, need to hit the city in search of it.

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      I love goat cheddar! I’m sensitive to cow’s milk, so goat cheddar is a great alternative. I use it on pizza, grilled cheeses, you name it! You can purchase it at Trader Joe’s if you have one near you :)

  • http://www.simplyscratch.com Laurie {Simply Scratch}

    Guilt free mac & cheese… I like it!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks Laurie! Can’t wait to explore your creations as well – they look delish!

  • Terry Lynn

    Okay, so I made this today and I want to portion it for separate meal, it mentions 4-6 servings, can you give me an estimate on how many calories there would be in a serving, this will help me decide on the size, otherwise I am liable to eat the whole thing! ha ha :) I have weakness for cheese and it doesn’t help that I LOVE quinoa!!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Hi Terry, thrilled you liked mac and cheese! I actually don’t calculate the calories on my recipes, but there are tons of free online tools you can use to plug in the ingredients and it will tell you all the nutritional information :)

  • http://www.nutmegnanny.com Brandy O’Neill

    I love the idea of using quinoa instead of pasta. It definitely delivers more in the way of nutrition. Plus the addition of butternut squash totally takes it over the top. Thank you so much helping Rachel and I make this event a success!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks so much for having me, Brandy! It was super fun to be part of this event :) And can’t wait for next year!

  • http://glutenfreelovestory.blogspot.com/ Melanie

    Oh yum, that’s so cool that you put butternut squash inside the mac and cheese for creaminess. The mac and cheese looks deliciously mouth watering. How did you learn to take beautiful pictures? Your’e pictures are gorgeous!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thank you Melanie! Food photography is tough, but I’ve taught myself along the way. It’s really just practice and experimenting. I appreciate the compliment :)

  • Christine

    I can’t wait to try this but my family and I are not fans of squash and I never buy it. I haven’t cooked with quinoa as of yet and wondered would carrots work? I have used carrots as a sneaky ingredient in a lot of my dishes.

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      I don’t think that carrots would be the same. What about sweet potatoes? Or you could also try pumpkin (although the flavor would be a little different). I’m going to give it a whirl with carrots and see if it works. Will be sure to let you know!

  • http://boilerbaker.blogspot.com/ Kathleen R.

    This looks yummy! I’ve never made anything with quinoa before but I think I might just have to try this!!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      I think you’ll love it :) Let me know how it turns out. It tastes delicious!!

  • Stepf

    So when making this do you cook the quinoa first or just put it all together and bake?

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      You cook the quinoa first :) There wouldn’t be enough liquid for the quinoa to cook on its own. xo!

  • Tiffanie

    Would frozen squash work with this?

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      I think it would, you’d just need to make sure you thaw and blend thoroughly!

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  • http://girlinamagicalworld.blogspot.com Samantha C.

    I made this for dinner last night and loved it! I have to admit, I used a brick of Birdseye frozen butternut squash to save time but it worked wonderfully! I stirred the almond milk, cheese, and spices to create a seriously smooth, silky cheese sauce. (I used about a tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp dry mustard, and a pinch of cayenne and nutmeg — I left out the Dijon and used dry mustard instead.) Seriously, just a pinch of nutmeg makes the biggest difference in homemade mac & cheese and it complements the butternut squash as well :) I have always wanted to “love” a butternut squash mac and cheese and this is the first one I’ve tried that isn’t overwhelmingly squash-y. I have a feeling this is going to be an oft-repeated meal :)

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Yay!!!! So happy you liked it. I’m definitely going to add the nutmeg next time, sounds delish! Now that I’ve made this mac and cheese, I’m dreaming up other ways to change it up. I’m going to try carrot next I think :)

    • Janet

      We don’t always have a big selection of squash at the grocer and I have no clue what size a “small” squash would weigh. But I can find frozen chunks. Can you give me a close measurement 2 cups? Etc? I want to try this! Thanks

      • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

        Hmm…I think we probably used about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of squash in this recipe. I’d start with less and work your way up as you mix everything together. I’m going to have to test this yet again and get the cup measurements. I’ll report back with my findings!! xo

  • http://www.allfreecasserolerecipes.com Emily Ramirez

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. It looks delicious! AllFreeCasseroleRecipes.com has featured it on our blog, Cheap Eats and Thrifty Crafts. You can check it out here: http://www.cheapeatsthriftycrafts.com/meatless-mondays-can-save-money/

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Thanks for sharing the recipe with your readers!

  • Jamie

    Do you know how much of this is one serving and how many calories in a serving? Thanks…so going to try this

    • asha mattai

      Just calculated it with myfitnesspal and its about 450 calories per serving along with 21 grams of protein + 5 grams of fiber.

  • Sue Brusseau

    I tried this with cauliflaur just because it was available in my fridge…delish. I steamed the veggie kind of “aldente” so each bite was a satisfying morsel like with macaroni.

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  • http://www.bobbiskozykitchen.com/ Bobbi Renee Hass-Burleson

    I love the idea of making a mac and cheese with quinoa. I am a huge fan, as well as my son’s fiance, the guys? Ummm well they live with it HA! I will have to through this together the next time they are over and see what they think of it.

  • http://www.midlifecroissant.com Christine Siracusa

    love this cuz my problem with mac and cheese is the mac part!

  • Christin@SpicySouthernKitchen

    Love mac and cheese but I’ve never tried it with quinoa before. Looks so good!

  • http://www.uniquelyunfolded.com/ Amanda Long

    The recipe sounds awesome…. Hoping my three year old {who doesn’t like mac n cheese. or anything else for that matter} goes for it… going to make it tonight :) Thanks for sharing… I totally love your blog, found you on pinterest !

  • Elsie

    This was so good and even better the next day. Even after freezing it still tasted great!