Monday, September 3, 2012

Quinoa "Mac and Cheese" with Turkey Meatballs

When I first read this recipe at Monica Nelson Fitness I was excited. I was thinking it would be like a creamy mac and cheese but healthified with quinoa.
I was a teeny tiny bit disappointed at the texture in the end - it wasn't very creamy. BUT, that being said, this dish is amazing in it's own right. If you are not expecting mac and cheese but, rather, a cheesy quinoa dish then you will not be disappointed.
I promise.
I pared it with some homemade turkey meatballs and had a lovely, healthy dinner that didn't feel like a healthy dinner.
I know, I know....people shake their heads at me because "healthy" scares me so much. I just happen to like it when healthy tastes like full-fat-blow-up-your-heart food.
Which this dinner did.
Win-win baby.
Quinoa "Mac and Cheese"
(Slightly adapted from Monica Nelson Fitness)
1 - 2 tsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced
1 small carrot, shredded
1/2 cup diced tomato
1 1/2 cups quinoa
pinch garlic salt
salt & pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups water
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups aged cheddar, shredded - divided
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add leek, carrot, and tomato; cook and stir 5 minutes - until tender. Stir in quinoa, garlic salt, salt & pepper, and minced garlic, and cook, uncovered, about 5 minutes - until quinoa starts to turn opaque.
Add water. Cover and reduce heat, simmer for 15 - 20 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9 X 13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Whisk together eggs and milk in a bowl. Stir this very well into the quinoa. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the aged cheddar. Pour into the prepared 9 X 13 pan.
It will look a little soupy but that is okay. It soaks in while it bakes.
Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup aged cheddar and place in oven. Bake for about 20 - 30 minutes, until browned around the edges.
These photos are from the first time I made this dish. I didn't have enough cheese to sprinkle extra on top so that is why you can't see any in the photo. The second time I made it, I did sprinkle the extra cheese on top. I definitely recommend the extra cheese on top. It makes it extra delicious!
The calorie count - according to the blog I found this on, Monica Nelson Fitness, is 339 calories for 1/6th of the entire recipe. That would be 1/6th of a 9 X 13 pan!! Holy heck!!
Waaaaaaaay better calorie count than actual Mac and Cheese!
And now, a simple turkey meatball recipe.
Turkey Meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
2 Tbsp pesto
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
1 egg
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 400. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together all 5 ingredients. Using a small cookie scoop, place meatballs on prepared cookie sheet. (If you don't have a cookie scoop, simply pinch off golf ball sized pieces and roll into balls.)
Bake in 400 oven for about 20 - 25 minutes. Until meatballs are cooked through.
Super simple.
These went really well with the Quinoa "Mac and Cheese" and a side of Cucumber Salad.
Holy, I had an entire meal of healthy stuff and was completely satisfied.
I'm impressed.
Head over to The Mandatory Mooch for some great links.


  1. What a delicious dish!! Thanks so much for linking up to Tasty Thursdays on The Mandatory Mooch!! I hope you will link up again. The party will be live tonight.

    Thanks, Nichi

  2. I too have the recipe from Monica. Unfortunately I used smoked gouda (a little high in fat) and keep using it because it is soooo good. I do add more veggies but have not tried carrots yet, sounds good. I do find it filling by itself but can't wait to try the meatballs, thanks!