How was your weekend? I went on an adventure to Home Depot so I could pick up a few pegs to hold up my newly painted office bookshelf. While at the HD, I got asked a total of 14 times if I needed help. Seriously, I started counting because around every corner there was a man with a bright orange apron approaching me. I’m not sure if it’s because I was wandering around with a lost look on my face or if it was because they have wonderful customer service. Maybe both?
Another great discovery is that they serve popcorn at my local Chicago HD store. It got me thinking that they should really start serving more comfort foods similar to Costco. Maybe some of this quinoa mac and cheese? I’d be shopping at HD errrrrrday.
Regardless, I’m SO excited to be sharing this quinoa mac and cheese with you today! Lightened up comfort food is one of my favorite things to create for AK.
This version contains melted white cheddar cheese, fresh broccoli and protein packed quinoa! Even Tony, who doesn’t like anything with quinoa in it, went back for seconds. That’s when I know it’s going to be a crowd (or blog) pleaser.
Oh and maybe you’re wondering what those crumbs are on top of this mac and cheese? Just a little crunchy parmesan buttery cracker topping that’s what. It takes this mac and cheese to next level incredible, but if you want to leave them off that’s fine too. Either way, it’s gonna be really, really freakin’ good.
A few reasons why I love this recipe so much:
It’s easy to make during the weeknights.
It makes incredible leftovers for lunch the next day.
It can be made gluten free!
It’s full of vegetarian protein, but if you’d like, you can always add chicken.
You get your veggies in!
There are endless ways to top this: Hot sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, black pepper, etc. (I always go for the hot sauce!)
I made this with shelf stable Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almondmilk, a staple in my cupboard. We don’t buy or drink regular milk, so I love being able to grab almondmilk out of my pantry and use it in simple recipes like this.
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below to let me know how to you liked it. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to snap a pic and tag #ambitiouskitchen so I can check out your creations! xo.
More healthy comfort food to try:
Broccoli & White Cheddar Quinoa Mac and Cheese
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon butter or vegan butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup gluten free oat flour OR gluten free all purpose flour
- 2 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- For topping:
- 10 buttery crackers, gluten free if desired (Ritz or a similar type of cracker is great)
- 2 tablespoons grated vegetarian parmesan cheese
- Serve with: Hot sauce, Ketchup, Soy sauce, Red pepper flakes -- whatever you like!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add water and quinoa to a large pot and place over high heat. Once water begins to boil, cover, reduce heat to low.
After 5 minutes, add broccoli to the pot, recover and cook on low for 10 more minutes. Once done, quinoa should be fluffy and broccoli al dente. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large cast iron skillet (or you can use a nonstick skillet), melt the butter over medium heat. Add in garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
Add the flour and cook for 30 seconds or until a paste forms. Slowly add in the Almondmilk, whisking away any lumps. Increase heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring every so often, until the sauce thickens up similar to a gravy.
After sauce thickens, reduce heat to low and stir in white cheddar cheese until sauce is creamy.
Add in onion powder, then salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Turn off heat.
Very gently fold in the quinoa/broccoli mixture. If you want you can bake it in the cast iron skillet (if large enough) OR transfer to a greased large casserole dish.
Gently crumble the crackers over the mac and cheese, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Season with more black pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbling around the edges and topping turns slightly golden brown. Serves 8.
If you want to leave out the cracker/parmesan topping, the nutrition is as follows for 1/8th of recipe: Calories: 292 | Fat: 13.5g | Saturated Fat: 6.1g | Carbs: 30.2g | Fiber 4.6g | Sugar: 1.6g | Protein: 12.2g
Want to scale down the recipe to serve less? Simply divide all the ingredients by half, then follow directions as is. Recipe will serve 4.
This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze. All recipes, opinions and text are my own. Thanks for continuing to support AK and the brands that help make this site possible!