Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (2024)

By: AlyssaRating 92 Comments on 5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

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Do you love mac and cheese but hate the calories and fat that come along with it? We're serving up a super healthy version in this quinoa mac and cheese!

Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (1)

this recipe

Seriously is there anything better than a bite of super creamy, cheesy goodness? It's pretty much heaven on earth if you ask me.

Still to this day, even though I know how awful it is for me, I sometimes crave Kraft macaroni and cheese. It's so weird because that was never anything that I ever ate growing up (we were an Annie's family all the way). There's just something about that box of junk pasta that makes my mouth water.

But for those of us who like to eat healthy not shove our faces with that orange-tinged pasta gook, you need to search for alternatives.

Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (2)

Our “Cheesy” Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce

Traditional cheese sauces are obviously loaded with cheese. But we're keeping things dairy-free around here and whipping up our own version of a mac and cheese sauce that's “cheesy” and delicious.

The secret for getting that Kraft color? Butternut squash!

I know it might sound a little weird, but when everything is combined together you can't even taste it. My butternut squash-hating boyfriend couldn't even tell it was in there. That's because we blend it up with some almond milk and nutritional yeast to make it taste cheesy and cover up some of the natural sweetness.

Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (3)

Secretly Healthy Mac and Cheese

Not only does this recipe have just 5 ingredients, but it's also super healthy. You're getting complex carbohydrates and protein from the quinoa, you're sneaking in some veggies in the form of squash (plus added fiber), and nutritional yeast is also packed with protein!

In comparison to standard mac, each serving has just 258 calories, 7g of protein and 6g of fiber!

Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (4)

The Easiest Mac and Cheese EVER!

So today we're making what could potentially be dubbed the healthiest mac and cheese ever. And we're making it as easy as humanly possible.

The base of this quinoa mac and cheese is not the heavy cream or milk that you're used to. In fact, we've used butternut squash to create the ultra creamy sauce. Instead of noodles, we opted for quinoa (which is packed with protein and nutrients of course). We've got a little cheese thrown into the mix, and since I'm dairy-free I used a vegan alternative. If you're not dairy-free, feel free to use whatever type of shredded cheese you'd like!

Basically, what I'm saying here, is that is a 100% guilt-free mac n' cheese recipe that your entire family with gobble up – even the kiddos. It's seriously addicting.

Can't wait to hear what you think of this quinoa mac and cheese recipe! I swear, it's like my favorite meal on the planet right now…!

Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (5)

Other Easy Quinoa Dinner Recipes to try:

  • One Pot Quinoa Mac and Cheese with Spinach
  • Glowing Winter Quinoa Buddha Bowls
  • Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
  • 5-Ingredient Quinoa Pizza Crust

5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese

4.2 from 44 votes

Do you love mac and cheese but hate the calories and fat that come along with it? We're serving up a super healthy version in this quinoa mac and cheese!

author: Alyssa

yield: 6 servings

Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (6)

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Prep: 20 minutes minutes

Cook: 20 minutes minutes

Total: 40 minutes minutes


  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash about 1 small
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast or parmesan
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded vegan cheese or shredded cheese of choice


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Peel and seed butternut squash. Chop into 1" chunks, add to a stock pot, cover with 1" of water and boil until fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer to a blender.

  • Add almond milk and nutritional yeast into a blender and blend on high until silky smooth and creamy. Add more milk as needed - texture should be thick, but easily pourable.

  • Transfer to a bowl and add quinoa and cheese. Stir until combined.

  • Transfer the quinoa mac and cheese into a baking dish, smoothing the top and sprinkling on additional cheese if desired. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, until bubbly.

  • Remove from oven, cool slightly and enjoy immediately.



Additional spice options:

- Paprika
- Tumeric
- Chili powder
- Hot sauce
- Salt & pepper


Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 212mg | Potassium: 577mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 9920IU | Vitamin C: 19.6mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 2.8mg

cuisine: American

course: Main Course


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Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (7)

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  • Dinner
  • Gluten-Free
  • Oven
  • Recipes
  • Sides
  • Vegetarian
Heatlhy Quinoa Mac and Cheese Recipe | Vegan & GF - Simply Quinoa (2024)


Is quinoa Vegan? ›

Quinoa (pronounced: KEEN-Wah) is a vegan favorite that's rich in protein and other nutrients. Along with buckwheat and amaranth, quinoa is considered a pseudocereal (or pseudograin.)

How does quinoa burn belly fat? ›

How Quinoa Helps In Weight Loss? Rich dietary fibre and protein increase metabolism, and that makes quinoa good for weight loss. Cooked Quinoa contains five grams of dietary fibre per cup. Eating high fibre foods is often the missing piece when a person is trying to shed weight.

Is it OK to eat quinoa everyday? ›

You can eat one-two cups of cooked quinoa in a day. You should avoid eating it if you experience stomachache, itchiness or vomiting after consuming it. A study by Harvard Public School of Health has reported that eating a bowl of quinoa daily is healthy and without any side effects.

Is quinoa or rice better? ›

So, what's healthier – brown rice or quinoa? Quinoa and rice are comparable in terms of calories and fiber content. They're both nutritious ingredients that can complement a well-rounded diet, but quinoa has the edge. It is a complete protein, while brown rice only contains a few of the essential amino acids.

What to add to cooked quinoa? ›

Quinoa is a neutral flavor, so it can go sweet or savory. Boil it with a combination of water and milk, and add honey or maple syrup, warm spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardomom, or your favorite blend. A pat of butter will make it richer.

Is quinoa really a super food? ›

Nicknamed a “superfood,” quinoa is a complete source of protein, which means it contains all nine amino acids, and it's also a great source of fiber (it contains more than any other grain) and heart-healthy fats.

What is the best way to eat quinoa? ›

Once you've made a batch of quinoa, you have endless options for using it. Make it the base of your next grain bowl, toss it into a salad, or stuff it into squash or sweet potatoes. It's also at home in soups & wraps, and it pairs nicely with sweet flavors as well as savory.

Can you eat quinoa seeds without cooking? ›

Quinoa can be eaten raw or uncooked if it is first soaked and sprouted, but some experts advise that quinoa should always be cooked, not consumed as a raw sprout. It is equally nutritious in sprout form, but cooking may be a safer and more versatile way to include it in your diet.

Do you eat quinoa on its own? ›

Meal possibilities are endless as quinoa will also absorb the flavor of any dressing or extra ingredients you toss it with. Plus, it's also great on its own for a filling side dish loaded with amino acids and minerals – simply drizzle with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Is quinoa meant to be eaten hot or cold? ›

Quinoa can be eaten hot or cold and in savoury or sweet dishes. To get the best out of it, I would suggest that it should be cooked using a liquid that imparts flavour… For savoury Quinoa, I always cook in a well-seasoned stock or home-made vegetable broth.

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