This healthy quinoa mac and cheese recipe is made in just one pot, is high in protein and packed with nutrient-dense ingredients. It's also a great way to sneak some greens into your meal without even noticing!
I woke up yesterday with this major hankering for mac and cheese. I was watching an episode of Always Sunny in Philadelphia and they kept eating mac and cheese, and honestly, it was the only thing I could think about.
But traditional mac and cheese that's packed with dairy, gluten and saturated fat? Sounds good, but not so good for my insides.
So instead, I whipped up a new version of quinoa mac and cheese, and it totally hit the spot. All the creamy, cheesy flavor, but without the bloat and gas. Just another reason why real, whole food ingredients win every single time.
I'm excited to be partnering with my friends at Bob's Red Mill to bring you today's recipe! You guys know how much I adore their entire product line; no matter what meal I'm whipping up, I know I can turn to Bob's to find the product I need.
And today is no different.
What's great about this recipe, aside from the fact that you can make it in just one pot and it comes together in under 20 minutes, is that it actually does taste like mac and cheese!
Of course, we don't have the noodles or the crunchy breadcrumb topping, but the creaminess, the heartiness and the flavor are all there. Honestly, I had to stop myself from eating the entire pan before taking pictures!
The trick to this mac and cheese is to add the spinach just before the quinoa is done cooking. That way it cooks down but doesn't lose its shape entirely.
We also want to undercook the quinoa just a bit. Leave a little bit of water still in the bottom and stir in all the remaining ingredients while it's still hot. When we do this, the quinoa sticks together a bit and helps ensure we're getting that nice creamy texture.
The final secret to this dish? The spices!
Last time I made a broccoli and quinoa mac and cheese, I added in some garlic powder and it kinda blew me away.
So this time, not only did I add some garlic powder, but I also stirred in a bit of smoked paprika (my fave) and the teeniest pinch of nutmeg. Yes, the nutmeg might sound out of place, but trust me it's SO good!
But I think best of all, and what you'll be happiest about, is that this mac and cheese is healthy. And not just a lightened up version where we use low-fat versions of the original. Nope, we're talking nutrient-dense, high-protein, legit healthy.
30 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber and only 5 grams of fat per serving. Whoever said you can't get enough protein from eating plants clearly has never combined quinoa and nutritional yeast before. Total powerhouse couple!
It makes for a completely plant-based meal that keeps well for a few days (hello, meal prep!) and will keep you full and satisfied, but not overly stuffed or bloated. Which means… leftover lunch party at your desk tomorrow!
More Healthy Quinoa Side Dishes to Try:
- Kimchi Fried Quinoa
- Garlic + Herb Mushroom Quinoa
- Coconut Curry Quinoa
- Ginger Miso Quinoa
- Vegan Quinoa Casserole
- Saffron Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad
One Pot Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Spinach
- Add quinoa and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add spinach to the pot, recover and continue to cook for another 3 - 5 minutes.
- Remove quinoa from the stove and stir in the remaining ingredients.
- Serve immediately or store in sealed glass containers in the fridge for 3 - 5 days.
This post was brought to you in partnership with Bob's Red Mill. Thank you for supporting the companies that I believe in! xo
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