When I was a young child, I enjoyed eating hot dogs with the blue box macaroni and cheese. Who else ate that?! Now it’s still comforting in a way… though we know that it is not too healthy and there were no vegetables. I made this baked quinoa mac and cheese recipe with chicken sausages AND hidden veggies to help bring back that comfort food.
*Mindyfresh is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Baked Quinoa Mac And Cheese
This baked quinoa mac and cheese has hidden veggies inside too which is something we may have lacked in the earlier days. It has many nutritious components and you can find out how they are loaded with nutrients below. I like to use Gilbert’s Craft chicken sausages, the ones with basil, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomatoes. Yum! I found a big box at Costco and keep them in the freezer for easy use. If you don’t eat meat then you can certainly make this without any or use a different kind of protein.
Benefits of Quinoa, Butternut Squash, and Kale
There are some grains that perhaps we shouldn’t eat much of, but quinoa isn’t one. Quinoa is full of vitamins and minerals. Note that some say soaking grains makes these minerals more absorptive. I say it can’t hurt, so my quinoa is soaked a few hours before making it in a bit of apple cider vinegar and water.
- Vitamin B6
Among many others nutrients. To make it simple, all of these make our bodies work better. The B vitamins help with energy metabolism.The minerals help with healthy cells, blood pressure, and bone building.
Butternut squash is typically a fall or winter vegetable, but it can be found in the frozen section as well. I like to buy a bag of frozen when it’s on sale. It is cooked quickly without the hassle of peeling and chopping. Butternut squash is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, and magnesium among more. It specifically has these antioxidants to help fight cancer and also low in calories for weight loss. We need a source of fat to help some of these absorb. That’s cheese and milk.
Kale is a famous health food. It is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, and iron among many others. There are too many to list! Kale should be on your list of things to eat. If you don’t like kale and could tolerate another green it’s very easy to substitute in this recipe. Just use spinach, it has a relatively mild flavor and less tough Alternatively, use broccoli or cauliflower. The possibilities are endless but make sure it’s a vegetable.
Fresh Flavors: Enjoy the comforting flavors of baked quinoa mac and cheese with extra nutritious hidden vegetables.
Baked Quinoa Mac And Cheese
- 1 cup quinoa uncooked
- 2 c butternut squash frozen or fresh
- 1 1/2 c cheddar cheese any variety
- 1/2 c milk any variety
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder or use regular
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper
- 1 bunch kale chopped, *optional
- 4 chicken sausages precooked, sliced and halved, *optional
Cook Quinoa & Squash
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook quinoa according to directions. Otherwise: bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Rinse quinoa. Add quinoa to boiling water and lower heat to low. Let simmer, covered, for 12 minutes. Turn off the burner and let it sit covered for another 5 minutes. Drain excess water if necessary.
Cook Squash & Kale
- Boil or steam squash and kale according to your preferences. It should be soft enough to blend. I prefer to saute kale in a pan for a few minutes For squash, I boil in water for a few minutes until fork tender.
Make Cheese Sauce
- Blend the cooked squash, cheese, milk, seasonings, and salt and pepper to taste. Add any other seasonings you need or more cheese, if you prefer. I use a food processor. You can also use a blender.
- In a large bowl, put in the cooked quinoa, cooked kale, cheese sauce, and chicken sausages. Mix all these together.
Bake Mac And Cheese
- Place the mixture into a pan of around 8x8 or 9x9. Spread even. Bake for about 30 minutes. Shred additional cheese on top if you love cheese.