This Healthier Butternut Quinoa Macaroni Cheese is hearty winter fare!
Want to know how to take a virtually empty carb meal and turn it into a much better-for-you dish? Read on because this Healthier Butternut Quinoa Macaroni Cheese is the way!
This dish has everything we love about macaroni cheese in spades…
And SO MUCH MORE!!
It’s hot, filling and comforting with a silky smooth, thick, golden Cheese and Butternut Roux, which is, by the way, AH-MAY-ZING and packed with butternut!! The pasta is mixed with poppy little quinoa seeds to give this dish an extra punch of Oh-So-Healthy. I don’t want my macaroni cheese any other way ever again, thank you very much. I bet children everywhere will agree with me! In fact I could have eaten the cheese and butternut roux all on its own and been perfectly happy – it’s that YUUUM you guys!
A few years ago I was eating pastries or a pudding of some kind almost every day, not to mention the array of other unhealthy food that existed in my daily life. It was a coping mechanism, but it had to stop, I was getting more and more unhealthy and feeling worse and worse, which is why I started eating the way I do now…I rediscovered my old loves – Fruit and Vegetables! And it was a healthy upward spiral from there.
Now I absolutely LOVE cooking vegetarian meals of all shapes and descriptions, I’m really fond of legumes, beans and quinoa. I find the challenge of cooking sugar free sweet treats a lot of fun. Most importantly, I feel great when I eat this way, which is why it has become a lifestyle for me, and also why I love sharing my recipes with all of you…In the hopes that you too will FEEL GREAT when you eat Good, Nutritious Food that is delicious and easy to make.
To be honest, I never used to really eat macaroni cheese…
Maybe once a year at the most…but now, with this much healthier version on my books, I’ll be making this recipe much more often!
I like to make this Healthier Butternut Quinoa Macaroni Cheese with gluten free pasta, you can make it with ordinary macaroni, or any pasta you like really…What’s great about this recipe is that you assemble the dish per bowl – spoon in the pasta and then pour over the sauce. So if you have left overs you can store the sauce and the pasta separately in the fridge so that the pasta doesn’t absorb all the sauce and the next day the dish is basically sauce-less, and the pasta is stodgy. Don’t you hate that?! Stodginess has no place in our lives.
Top this delicious meal with a few shavings of cheddar cheese and a sprinkling of chopped fresh parsley and you have yourself some YUMMY, and nutritious, winter comfort food!
For me, this meal is a bit of a treat, I won’t be making this every week…but when I’m craving something really hearty and filling this winter, this will absolutely be my go-to dish.
Speaking of winter treats – I had a Pain Au Raisin when I was out for tea the other day, MY GOODNESS…if you’re like I was and you have not tried one in your life, I highly recommend you find a great bakery and treat yourself to a Pain Au Raisin. It’s crispy on the outside, soft and doughy in the centre, sticky, sweet, spicy, fruity pastry heaven. Honestly good. Healthy? No, but we’re talking “once in a while” TREATS here people. Which is OK. Really yum.
This Healthier Butternut Quinoa Macaroni Cheese is dying to be invited onto your menu this week! Give it a try and let me know in the comments what you think of it. I’d love to hear from you.
Happy Healthy Cooking!
- ½ large butternut, peeled and sliced into cubes
- ¾ cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2½ tbsp plain flour
- 2½ tbsp butter
- 1½ cups milk
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Enough macaroni for 4 people (I use gluten free)
- Steam the butternut until very soft (if you don’t have a steamer, you can boil it). At the same time, bring the quinoa to the boil in a small saucepan with 2 cups of water and cook for 20 minutes until tender, the water should all boil off.
- While the butternut and quinoa are cooking, make the cheese sauce:
- Place the flour and butter in a medium sauce pan on a medium high heat and stir together while the butter melts. Then cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Take off the heat and add a little milk and whisk it in, do this until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Then whisk in the remaining milk and put the saucepan back on the heat, bringing the sauce to the boil, constantly whisking until the sauce thickens. Stir in the cheese and salt and pepper.
- Allow the butternut to cool for a few minutes and then blend until smooth with 4 tbsp of the cheese sauce. Stir the butternut mixture into the cheese sauce.
- Cook the macaroni as you normally would. Drain and stir in the cooked quinoa. Spoon into bowls and pour over the butternut cheese sauce.
- Top with a little extra cheese, some fresh, chopped parsley, and serve.