quinoa mac n cheese

quinoa-mac-n-cheese-gluten-freeThere are so many benefits to living in New York, one being that it is a public transportation, “walking city” kinda place.  Not only does that mean that I get to see the sites daily, whether it be the Empire State Building on my left, MoMa on my right, or a rat scurrying nearly across my feet because I’m passing by Thompkin Square Park, it is something I appreciate.  It lets me breathe in the fresh, hot, humid, stale, trash-ridden, taxi-steeped, concrete-muffled… air.  (um?)  Anyways.  It is nice walking, because stretching the legs is always good, he buildings and people-watching really are beautiful, and it sure does work up an appetite.


Which is why we can call this recipe another “happy accident”.  I had just met with a client in Brooklyn for Time Out New York, and decided, “It’s so pretty out, why not take a lovely stroll across The Entire Williamsburg Bridge.”  That’s not a short distance.  By any means.  Needless to say, when I returned home, I was RAVENOUS.  Not just capital “R”… capital EVERYTHING.

<–“leisurely” stroll home.

I went to my pantry to grab some gluten-free pasta, as I was just craving macaroni and cheese.  But to no avail.  HOWEVER!  I did find a fresh package of quinoa, and had just purchased some Daiya dairy and soy-free cheddar shreds, as well as some Earth Balance no-soy butter spread.  Sounds like macaroni juice to me!


What it ended up being was more like a quinoa cheese casserole.  Wait, no.  That’s not accurate.  It’s so much more gooey than a casserole.  But there’s no “macaroni”.  I guess we’ll just have to call the little balls of quinoa the tiniest macaroni, ever.  Like the Napoleons of macaroni.

…which simply leaves more surface area for the cheese to coat!  I call that a win.  Napoleon did conquer, after all.

Another “win” is when I test the recipes on my “non-allergic” counterparts, who, quite frankly, do not like anything that tastes even the slightest “cardboard”, as they call it.  Apparently, none of the hardened, thickened paper is detectable in this creamy slab of comfort.  Which is nice to hear, because I agree. 🙂


quinoa mac n cheese

Serves 2-3
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Diabetic, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, margarine, or butter
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried onion or onion powder
  • 2 cups dairy-free cheese substitute or aged cheddar and/or gruyere cheeses


Step 1 Cook quinoa: boil 2 cups water and 1 tsp. salt.  Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low.  Cook for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed.  Meanwhile, pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2 Melt butter/coconut oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in rosemary and dried onion.  Reduce heat to medium low, and stir in 1 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup at a time.  Stir until combined, and remove from heat.
Step 3 Immediately, in a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa and melted cheese mixture until quinoa is well-coated.
Step 4 Spread quinoa mixture evenly into an 8x8 baking pan, and evenly distribute remaining 3/4 cup cheese over the top of the mixture.
Step 5 Cook for 20 minutes at 375.  Increase heat to 450, and cook for another 10 minutes, or until top browns.
Step 6 Remove from heat, let cool for 5 minutes before serving, and then enjoy!  No need to accompany with a protein, as quinoa is a complete protein in and of itself.

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