Swap out macaroni with wholesome quinoa and you’ve got a healthy version of this classic All-American dish! For added nutrition, I folded in fresh spinach and divided the mixture into individual muffin cups. This recipe makes twelve quinoa spinach mac and cheese cups that are extra crispy on the outside, and gooey-cheesy on the inside. The kiddos will love these individually portioned quinoa mac and cheese cups.
Quinoa-Spinach Mac and Cheese Cups Recipe
These kid-friendly bites are extra crispy on the outside and gooey-cheesy on the inside.
- quinoa: 1 cup, uncooked
- chicken broth, or vegetable broth: 2 cups
- baby spinach: 1 cup
- butter: 1½ tablespoons
- all-purpose flour: 1½ tablespoons
- whole milk: ¾ cup
- grated cheddar cheese: ½ cup
- large egg: 1
- salt: ¼ teaspoon
- freshly cracked black pepper: ¼ teaspoon
- grated parmesan cheese: ¼ cup
- panko bread crumbs: ¼ cup
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sized pot, combine the quinoa and broth and bring to a boil over a medium-high flame. Reduce the flame to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed, fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add the spinach to the pot and cover with the lid (so the spinach wilts slightly).
Step 2: In small saucepan, melt the butter over a medium flame. Add in the flour and stir with a spoon (or a whisk) until a thick, lump-free paste forms. Pour in the milk and continue whisking until the milk thickens. Sprinkle in the grated cheddar cheese, and stir until fully melted.
Step 3: In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, wilted spinach, cheese sauce, egg, and salt and pepper together.
Step 4: Lightly grease your muffin pan and evenly divide the quinoa-spinach mixture into the muffin cups. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs over the tops of the muffin cups. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and tops are crispy. Allow to cool before separating from the muffin cups.
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