Remember as a kid the joy brought on by a nice big bowl of mac n' cheese? I always liked to add extra cheese to mine. I had a few friends who would add ketchup as I scoffed in dismay. Sometimes it was a stand alone meal and sometimes it was a side dish to such healthy entrees as hot dogs (mmmm).
All jest aside, we have a good recipe that will allow you to enjoy a dish reminiscent of mac n' cheese but with a little more savory ingredients (OK a lot more savory) and with a much improved nutrient profile...quinoa n' cheese with veggies.
- 2 cups of raw or sprouted quinoa (white or colored is fine)
- 5 cups of chopped kale*
- 1 medium Spanish onion*
- 12 oz of cubed or cut up Kerrygold Dubliner cheese**
- 6 cups of water
- 3 tbsp of dehydrated garlic flakes
- 3 tbs Frontier Natural's Mexican Seasoning blend (salt-free)
Step 1. Chop up raw kale and a medium onion. Toss the veggies in a crock pot (what we did) or a a stove top pot.
Step 2. Add 2 cups of quinoa, seasonings and water.
Step 3. Cook the ingredients. We just set our crock pot for low and leave it on overnight. 30 minutes on medium heat may suffice for stove top.
Step 4. When the ingredients are cooked to your satisfaction, turn off the heat and add the cheese. As long as your cheese is shredded, cubed, or at least finely sliced the heat of the cooked ingredients will be enough to melt it.
Nutrition Facts (makes ~ 5 Mason jars aka five 16-oz servings): 600 Calories, 60.3 g Carbohydrates, 8.1 g fiber, 8.3 g sugar, 26.6 g fat, 29.3 g protein
This recipe is pretty rich and may not be a great staple if your main goal is weight loss. Sofia has trouble maintaining her goal weight so she eats it regularly. I usually just have a bowl the day we make it and then pack the rest away for Sofia's lunches throughout the week.
* You could easily make many substitutions to this recipe such as using spinach instead of kale, adding carrots or peppers, omitting onion, etc.
** We use Dubliner cheese because it's Kerrygold brand which means it comes from grass fed cows. Grass fed cow's dairy products are thought to contain more vitamin K2 because animals convert vitamin K1 to vitamin K2. Vitamin K1 is also called phylloquinoine and is the green pigment in grass and leafy greens which helps drive photosynthesis. Thus grass contains much more K1 aka phylloquinoine than corn for animals to convert to vitamin K2. In addition Costco sells bulk bricks of of Dubliner for less than $6/lb so we can purchase it for a great price. However if you know of another good cheese or a more affordable option you can use that as well. Although we do always recommend sourcing dairy from pasture raised cows for ethical and nutritional reasons.