Quinoa and Spinach Mac and Cheese
I know this isn’t real mac and cheese because there’s no mac in sight. Plenty of cheese though, and when it’s mixed with quinoa, this tastes like mac and cheese, feels like mac and cheese, even smells like mac and cheese! And yet, it’s a lot better for you than mac and cheese.
What do you have to lose?
Serves 6 to 8
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 ½ cups whole milk
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
3 cups cooked quinoa (from 1 cup raw quinoa according to package directions)
5 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 3-quart casserole with vegetable oil spray.
- In a heavy saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and then let the mixture simmer for about 5 minutes until smooth. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the Cheddar cheese, salt and nutmeg and whisk until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the cheese sauce with the quinoa. Add the spinach and ¼ cup of the grated Parmesan cheese. Transfer to the casserole dish.
- In a small saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the panko and remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese and stir until well mixed and the breadcrumbs are coated with butter. Sprinkle the cheesy crumbs over the top of the mac and cheese.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving