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!
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.
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.
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!
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…!
Other Easy Quinoa Dinner Recipes to try:
- One Pot Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Spinach
- Glowing Winter Quinoa Buddha Bowls
- Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- 5-Ingredient Quinoa Pizza Crust
5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- 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.
- Chili powder
- Hot sauce
- Salt & pepper