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Broccoli & White Cheddar Quinoa Mac and Cheese

Try this comforting quinoa mac and cheese with broccoli, creamy white cheddar sauce & a cracker crust topping. Packed with vegetarian protein!

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins

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.

quinoa mac and cheese in a skillet

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.

quinoa mac and cheese in a skillet and on a plate

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.

scoop of quinoa mac and cheese with broccoli

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!)

quinoa mac and cheese with broccoli next to almond breeze almondmilk

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.

P.S. If you’re wondering what kind of skillet I use, I have this one and this one too. Both are lovely.

quinoa mac and cheese with broccoli on a plate

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:

Lightened Up Chicken Pot Pie + video

Low Carb Zucchini Lasagna with Spicy Turkey Meat Sauce

Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta with Peas {vegan & gluten free!}

How to Make the Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust + video

Easy Vegan Mac and Cheese

Broccoli & White Cheddar Quinoa Mac and Cheese

5 from 3 votes
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword quinoa mac and cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serves 8
The best comfort food made a little more nutritious & gluten free! Try this quinoa mac and cheese with broccoli, a creamy white cheddar sauce & a cracker crust topping!

Ingredients

  • 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!

Instructions

  1. 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. 

  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. After sauce thickens, reduce heat to low and stir in white cheddar cheese until sauce is creamy. 
  6. Add in onion powder, then salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Turn off heat. 
  7. 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.
  8. Gently crumble the crackers over the mac and cheese, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Season with more black pepper. 
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until mixture is bubbling around the edges and topping turns slightly golden brown. Serves 8.

Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition
Servings: 8 servings
Serving size: 1 serving
Calories: 313kcal
Fat: 14.6g
Saturated fat: 6.3g
Carbohydrates: 32.4g
Fiber: 4.6g
Sugar: 1.9g
Protein: 12.7g

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!

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