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(Kinda) Healthy Mac and Cheese [Fierce Foodie]


Mac and cheese is pretty irreplaceable as far as comfort foods go. Something about the combination of starch and fat hits a pleasure center in the brain like nothing else. There was a three-month depressive period in my life when I made it every week and gained 25 pounds. After that I stopped making it all together and now only eat Grandma’s mac and cheese on rare occasions. In between meals at Grandma’s, I make this light quinoa and cheese recipe.

Quinoa Mac and Cheese
Courtesy of


2 tsp olive oil
1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)
1/2 cup diced tomato, or red/green pepper
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
good pinch of salt
a few grinds of pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups of water (or stock)
2 large eggs
1 cup soy milk, non-fat milk, or milk of choice
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling

Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping

Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions


Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and tomatoes; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook uncovered 3-4 minutes, or until grains start to turn opaque.  (They will not fully be cooked yet.)

Add 3 cups water (or stock) and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

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.  Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. The mixture will seem a little soupy, but do not worry, it will all mold together.

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 minutes, or until browned around edges.  Top with salsa, hot sauce, whatever strikes your fancy.

Divided into 6 servings:  339 Calories per serving.

featured image credit: tastytouring

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