Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese with Veggies

With my friends about to have their baby, I was on the look out for good, healthy recipes to make for them when cooking was out of the question for them.  This recipe is perfect – not only is it a healthier version of everyone’s favorite comfort food (quinoa is a good source of protein), and it freezes quite well, but it can be made with the addition of nearly any of the farm share veggie stragglers that you need to use up ASAP. I’ve made this recipe two weeks in a row – and really liked to include any of the greens (like chard), cauliflower, broccoli and the leftover garlic scapes. I imagine that it would also be great with this week’s eggplant, zucchini or summer squash.

My only suggestion with this recipe is to watch the salt. I felt like it was way too salty the first time I made it, so the next time I just added salt to taste. Also, I found it easier to make the quinoa separately, while simultaneously sauteing the veggies and then mix them together before baking.

Overall, the dish was delicious and has become one of our favorite, easy, go-to dishes when we have a lot of veggies to use up! Click HERE for the original recipe or see my adjusted recipe below. Happy cooking!

– Valerie

Quinoa “Mac” and Cheese

Ingredients
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (or chives, onions or scallions)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato, red/green pepper (optional)
  • Any veggies – like kale, chard, broccoli, squash, zucchini, etc. cut in small-sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained 
  • seasoning salt or kosher salt to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or garlic scapes)
  • 1 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 1/2 cup of veggie, beef or chicken broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk, non-fat milk, or milk of choice
  • 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling- NOTE: (You may find you need more cheese, BUT I use this amount to still keep the dish ‘lighter’ yet very flavorful.)
  • Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
  • Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions (you get the picture)
Directions
  1. Add quinoa, broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and simmer covered until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add leek and tomatoes (or bell peppers-or any veggies you want); cover and cook 5 mins or until tender. Stir in garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13×9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese (if you feel you need more cheese, add here.) Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. (Will seem a little “soupy”, do not worry, it will all mold together.)
  4. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs, add now.You can also sprinkle a bit more cheese on now if you prefer for topping. Bake 25-35 mins, (or until browned around edges.)


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