quinoa mac and cheese

I decided I’m an old woman trapped in a 22 year old’s body. Proof:

Yesterday I went for a long run, and by the end I was stopping not because I was tired, but because I could feel my ankles caving in.

I own a matching pajama set. That my mom gave me. That I wear. It’s so comfy!

I always set up my coffee maker the night before. I should just get one with a timer, but I’ll wait until this one breaks to do so.

Few things make me happier than going to bed before 10:00.

I get crotchety when the weather changes.

Quilting is one of my favorite hobbies. For realz.

I flash pictures of Kevin around and show him off like he’s my grandchild. Or my child, for that matter.

I make things in unnecessarily large quantities even though I’m eating alone and then save them in the refrigerator to eat four nights in a row.

Quinoa Mac and Cheese

adapted from Monica Nelson Fitness

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (I bought pre-rinsed)

vegetables of your choice- I used onion, zucchini and tomato

garlic, salt, pepper and other seasonings

1 cup cheese of your choice (I used a mix of mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan)

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

olive oil, water (or stock)

Saute your vegetables in a little olive oil, salt and pepper until partially translucent.

Clearly you have a lot of flexibility with the flavor in terms of cheese, vegetables, and seasonings.

Add the quinoa and toast for 5 minutes or so until opaque.

Add your liquid- I used water but you could use chicken or vegetable stock for more flavor. The amount of liquid is double your quinoa- so 2 cups of water to 1 cup quinoa. Add additional seasoning- I used Jane’s crazy mixed up salt (in love) but you could add any dried herbs, red pepper flakes, etc. Lower the heat and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed.

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and grated cheese. Pour in the quinoa mixture and combine. It will look gross at this point.

Pour into a greased pan and top with breadcrumbs or more cheese (optional). I used panko and parmesan. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes depending on the depth of your dish.


It’s a stretch for me to call this mac and cheese because I’m such a blue box fan. In college when Danielle and I had mac and cheese nights we would make two boxes. For just the two of us. We’re gross.

I don’t think they’ll be signing up an orange dinosaur with his own cheese filled amusement park to market this dish, but as I said I ate it four nights in a row and I’m a brat. So it must be good.

I’ll scrawl it on a recipe card that says “From the Kitchen of Erin” on it for you. Nighty night.

37 Comments Add yours

  1. Nancy Pizzotti says:

    I will def. try this as I’m eating a low carb menu these days.

    1. You should! It’s delicious and you can personalize it with whatever veggies you like/have on hand. Enjoy!

  2. Amanda says:

    Just made this and it’s not good! I must have done something wrong. I haven’t had any luck cooking with quinoa yet!

    1. I’m sorry it didn’t turn out well! Did you wash the quinoa? If it isn’t thoroughly rinsed before cooking it can taste bitter. It’s kind of a pain to do, so make sure you have a fine mesh strainer. Or, you can sometimes find it pre-washed. Once you perfect the cooking process, you should try the confetti quinoa salad in our recipe index- always a crowd pleaser 🙂

  3. Patricia says:

    I made this but I omitted the veggies since I did not have anything that sounded good to go in it. It was very good! I was pleased with how much it was like Mac N Cheese. I will have to admit that I was skeptical but it was a hit at our dinner table. Especially with my 2 year old. Thanks

  4. Cori says:

    I’ve been making a similar version of this for years! My favorite cheese to use is feta and traditional Mediterranean vegetables for a nice summer version, but next time I will try a classic cheddar cheese version for sure!

    1. Amber says:

      ooo, that sounds yummy 🙂

  5. nancy sturm says:

    Made it and it was delicious! Any idea how many calories?

    1. I never calculated the calories, but I guarantee it’s better than the stuff in the blue box 🙂

      1. Kristen says:

        the recipe will yield 1200-1400 calories total, depending on the kinds of cheese and milk used as well as what veggies are added in. Not bad considering it contains 4-6 generous portions!

  6. Amber says:

    sounds so amazing, i don’t have any quinoa right now, but im attempting couscous, so if it doesn’t work, oh well. lol.

  7. tashpooh says:

    Just made it last night and its sooooo good. Brought some in for my co workers to try and they love it. Thank you!!!! : )

  8. R says:

    Oh my. This was so incredible! I am actually eating it cold at my desk…so very yummy!

    I mixed red and white quinoa (out of necessity) and used Mozzarella,Feta and fresh Parmesan for cheese…so very good my husband actually liked it too (he is the master chef in our household).

    I also used cooked quinoa (because I read the recipe after I cooked it) and it worked perfectly!
    Great recipe!

  9. Misty says:

    I made this for my family. I have four girls ages 11, 9, 5, and 3. It was a hit, with all of them…including the husband who refused to eat mac and cheese for dinner! Thank you! I love reading your blog. You are a very talented and amusing young woman. I’m sure if there wasn’t 10 years separating us, and who knows, the distance, I would find myself asking to hang with you! LOL Good Luck!

  10. Breanna says:

    I just made this and it turned out way too dry. I had to throw extra cheese on it and put it in the microwave. Maybe it should have been covered while it baked?

    1. you could definitely try covering it! it’s not meant to be soupy, but keeping a lid or tin foil on it would keep the steam in for sure.

  11. Jarita says:

    Awesome! Can’t wait to try. About how many does the 1 cup serve?

    1. Typically uncooked quinoa just about doubles in quantity once it absorbs the cooking liquid, so I would say that recipe feeds 4-6. If I recall, I ate it for dinner about 4 nights in a row 🙂

      1. Laura says:

        I agree, probably closer to the 6 serving size. It was a big batch!

  12. Laura says:

    I made these tonight to go along with salmon burgers and it was amazing! I didn’t have a lot around for fresh veggies so I sauted onions, tomatoes and added a can of fire roasted green chilies to it. Used mozz. and cheddar and parmesan also. Next time I’ll try different veggies and cheeses…gruyere or havarti might be nice! Thanks for the great recipes!

  13. gerbera222 says:

    I have just made this for the third time, it is so good…thank you! I added Isernio’s chicken sausage and modified it a little, and the hubby typed it up into a one page document. Let me know if you want me to send it to you!

  14. This is SUCH a good idea! Going to make it tonight. May chop the veggies up even smaller though so my kiddo doesn’t realize how healthy this is. Thanks for sharing =)

  15. Samantha says:

    Do you think this would cook well in a crock pot?!

    1. I’m not sure! I think you might still have to pre-cook the quinoa so that would probably defeat the purpose. If you try it let us know how it goes!

  16. Kelly says:

    Hahaha I am an old woman in a 22 year old’s body as well. I really get annoyed with exercise, my craft is soap making, and my new obsession with vintage thank you cards brought my hubby to tell me that I’m “kind of an old lady” lol. Totally going to make this, thanks for the recipe!

  17. Lisa says:

    I made this quinoa Mac and cheese, omg I was awesome, my husband loved it too. Making it again tonight. Thank you

  18. Lisa says:

    It it it was awesome!!!!

  19. April says:

    I love this recipe! I have made it many times now with a variety of different veggies. My favorite combo is onions, squash, mushrooms and broccoli. Thanks so much for posting it!

  20. Mere says:

    LOVE this recipe I have made a few times now I usually double it and left overs super yummy!! I use green and yellow squash and no tomatoes also onions

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