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March 14, 2019

by Alyssa

5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

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Do you love mac and cheese but hate the calories and fat that come along with it? We're serving up a super healthy version in this quinoa mac and cheese!

Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe

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 ever ate growing up (we were an Annie's family all the way). There's just something about that box of junk pasta that makes my mouth water.

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.

Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce

Our “Cheesy” Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce

Traditional cheese sauces are obviously loaded with cheese. But we're keeping things dairy-free around here and whipping up our own version of a mac and cheese sauce that's “cheesy” and delicious.

The secret for getting that Kraft color? Butternut squash!

I know it might sound a little weird, but when everything is combined together you can't even taste it. My butternut squash-hating boyfriend couldn't even tell it was in there. That's because we blend it up with some almond milk and nutritional yeast to make it taste cheesy and cover up some of the natural sweetness.

5 Ingredient Vegan Mac and Cheese

Secretly Healthy Mac and Cheese

Not only does this recipe have just 5 ingredients, but it's also super healthy. You're getting complex carbohydrates and protein from the quinoa, you're sneaking in some veggies in the form of squash (plus added fiber), and nutritional yeast is also packed with protein!

In comparison to standard mac, each serving has just 258 calories, 7g of protein and 6g of fiber!

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese

The Easiest Mac and Cheese EVER!

So today we're making what could potentially be dubbed the healthiest mac and cheese ever. 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, and since I'm dairy-free I used a vegan alternative. If you're not dairy-free, feel free to use whatever type of shredded cheese you'd like!

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.

Can't wait to hear what you think of this quinoa mac and cheese recipe! I swear, it's like my favorite meal on the planet right now…!

Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe Simply Quinoa

Other Easy Quinoa Dinner Recipes to try:

5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Do you love mac and cheese but hate the calories and fat that come along with it? We're serving up a super healthy version in this quinoa mac and cheese!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 258kcal
Author Alyssa
Print Pin
Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe
4.03 from 37 votes


  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash about 1 small
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese or shredded cheese of choice


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • 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.
  • Add almond milk and nutritional yeast into a blender and blend on high until silky smooth and creamy. Add more milk as needed - texture should be thick, but easily pourable.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add quinoa and cheese. Stir until combined.
  • Transfer the quinoa mac and cheese into a baking dish, smoothing the top and sprinkling on additional cheese if desired. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until bubbly.
  • Remove from oven, cool slightly and enjoy immediately.



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


Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 577mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 9920IU | Vitamin C: 19.6mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2.8mg



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

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. It was so bland! I added Tabasco, garlic powder, smoked paprika, pepper, salt… I even added real cheese to top it off.

  2. I .LOVE. YOUR RECIPES. I’ve made a few different ones now, and this one last night, and even the hubs loved it! Thank you for sharing simple, delicious, and healthy recipes! I’m on your site and share your recipes ALL the time!! THANK YOU!!

  3. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Your recipe lists dijon mustard but does not mention the nutritional yeast that you mention in the you tube video. Can you use both ingredients and how much yeast? Hope you can read this very light print. Don’t know how to fix it.

  4. This looks great! I sometimes add butternut squash to my mac&cheese, so I know I’ll love this recipe. My family is going camping next week and I’m trying to do my best to continue to eat healthy while away with others who don’t. I’m planning on making the squash puree before we go and jar it. That way, when we’re all having KD I can just cook some quinoa real quick and add the squash and cheese. Super happy I came across this, thanks!

    • I think this will definitely work for camping! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you 🙂 Keep me posted! xo

  5. Since this serves 4-6 and I am only one person can I freeze the other portions? How long can this last in the fridge also? Thanks!

  6. […] Pinterest for five minutes and you can healthy zucchini lasagna, 5-ingredient quinoa mac and cheese, and even these skinny buffalo turkey sliders. So basically, with a little research and planning, […]

  7. Yum! Just made this, and enjoyed it for my Super Bowl dinner. I added a shake of nutmeg and turmeric to the mixture before baking. Thanks!

  8. […] with olive oil to go with some omelets. We also picked up some gouda and cheddar cheeses to make a quinoa mac & cheese from SimplyQuinoa.We also picked up a giant zucchini, some golden beets, and a mixed box of […]

  9. HI,
    So I made this the other day. I have to tell you, I had to be sneaky when putting this together. My hubby can form an opinion about what he is eating by what he sees going into it! lol. and I knew he would do that with this. So I served this delicious “mac and cheese” to him and he loved! When he was about half way through I told him about the squash. He was shocked! . It is that good and good for you. We loved this, next time I make it I won’t have to be sneaky…lol. Thank you!

  10. […] simple recipe uses healthier ingredients like quinoa and butternut squash. If you’re looking for a way to […]

  11. Wow! This is the first of your recipes I’ve tried. I didn’t think I was a big fan of quinoa, but I made this Quinoa Mac and Cheese today and it was Delicious!!! I substituted Sargento Reduced Fat 4 Cheese blend for the Goat Cheddar because that is what I had on hand. So good!

    • YUM! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I just made another batch recently and added peas and broccoli – SO good!

  12. […] simple recipe uses healthier ingredients like quinoa and butternut squash. If you’re looking for a way to […]

  13. […] 5 Ingredient Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese Unless you’re severely lactose intolerant (and if so, we apologize in advance), there’s no denying the mouthwatering delight found in a big ol’ spoonful of mac and cheese. But, unfortunately, this childhood go-to has pretty much zero nutrition. That is, until you’ve tried this recipe that sneaks quinoa into every bite. What you get from adding this super grain into the cheesy goodness is a ton of protein, fiber – and some hearty iron (extra important to nom on after a hard workout!). Get the recipe: Simply Quinoa […]

  14. […] 5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac n’ Cheese-Oh my goodness, this sounds amazing! Using butternut squash, almond milk, dijon mustard, quinoa, and goat cheese…this might need to happen this weekend! […]

  15. 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 !

  16. 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.

  17. […] Five-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese: Subbing out pasta for a superfood like quinoa is the best way to stay on the healthy track. […]

  18. […] didn’t take my long to think of my base for this recipe – my 5-ingredient quinoa mac and cheese is not only, but it’s also a cinch to whip up. So with that as our starting point, I figured why […]

  19. […] with amazing recipes. You will never be bored with quinoa again, ever. I promise! Here is a great recipe for the kiddos. Her newsletter and e-book full of recipes are great (and free when you sign […]

  20. […] use it all the time, I have loved having the luxury of being able to make cheese pizza, or a creamy quinoa mac and cheese and now these cheddar quinoa […]

  21. 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.

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

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

  23. 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 🙂

    • 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

      • 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

    • 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 🙂

  24. […] Quinoa Mac and Cheese from Queen of Quinoa – Cheddar cheese, butternut squash and a hint of almond give this quinoa […]


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