It’s me again trying to make comfort food healthy. In this most recent effort we are subbing in quinoa for macaroni noodles and adding a serious amount of spinach. Otherwise, this is just like mac and cheese. I even used whole milk for sauce. In retrospect, I could have gotten away with 2% which is probably what I would do next time. There is an aggressive bread crumb topping which you could tone down to your desired level. Otherwise, this is a very yummy cheesy happiness pile.
Inspired by TastyKitchen
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
2 dashes freshly grated nutmeg
0.25 teaspoon salt
8 ounces, shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 cups cooked quinoa
Several aggressive handfuls of baby spinach
For the topping:
0.5 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted
0.75 cups panko bread crumbs (I used whole wheat)
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium saucepan add 3 tablespoons butter and flour over medium heat. Whisk constantly until paste forms. Whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium/high and bring to a boil whisking the entire time. Off the heat, stir in nutmeg, salt and cheddar until smooth.
In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, cheese sauce and spinach stirring to let the heat wilt the spinach a little. Transfer mixture to a dish (I used a cast iron skillet). Top with the parmesan. In a small bowl combine the melted butter and bread crumbs. Sprinkle over top of casserole. Bake for 20 minutes until bubbly. Feel free to finish under the broiler if you want a little extra browning/crispiness.