Easy Quinoa & Cheese
I’m pretty sure that every American household has some form of mac n’ cheese that’s a family favorite. Both of my grandmothers have their own take on the traditional dish: one bakes hers in the oven until the cheese on top bubbles and turns brown, the other prefers the stove-top method and coats her pasta with a thick creamy sauce.
Prepared either way I can easily eat more than my fair share of the cheesy goodness. Can anyone relate with me or am I alone as a self-labeled mac n’ cheese junkie?
Just like their good ol’ momma, my kiddos can put away some hefty amounts of macaroni and cheese. Too bad it’s not the best dietary choice for them (or for me!). But what if I told you there was a healthy alternative out there? One that my kids (and I) like just as well but that has a lot more of the good stuff we mommas long to see filling our babies’ bellies? Enter the new contender.
I stumbled upon one version of this recipe and just had to try it out. With a few tweaks I felt like I had a real winner of a recipe. The texture may take some getting used to (especially if you’ve not eaten quinoa before), but the flavor is terrific and the nutritional value is even better.
Quinoa is a wonderful complex carbohydrate addition to any diet. It’s a complete protein while also being incredibly high in fiber, iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin). The protein boost alone blows our traditional macaroni right out of the… boiling water.
And we’ve talked about the huge benefits of dandelion so much that you’re probably tired of hearing about it, I’m guessing.
Slip this into your usual lunch-plan and see if it’s a winner with your family! If your children tend to be a bit skittish when anything green is set before them, simply cook the quinoa separately and puree all the vegetables into the cheese sauce using an immersion blender before pouring over the quinoa.
Also, if you find the dish too rich for your tastes, try using water in place of the bone broth.
- 3 T. butter, divided
- 1 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh dandelion greens (or kale, or spinach), finely shredded
- 2 t. garlic, minced
- 2 cups dry quinoa (preferably sprouted) thoroughly rinsed with cold water
- 4 cups bone broth (or chicken broth)
- 2 cups cheese, shredded (we used cheddar)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup milk (to desired texture)
- In a medium stock pot melt 1 T. butter over medium heat. Add carrot, broccoli, dandelion greens and garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes.
- Add quinoa and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
- Cover the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10-15 until quinoa is tender (you'll see the little white tails) and liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in remaining butter, cheddar cheese, and milk to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.