Quinoa Mac n' Cheese Casserole

quinoa mac n cheese
I added the 'casserole' to the name because you bake it and it's not quite as creamy as typical mac n' cheese BUT it IS delicious! I made this for myself to have on hand for lunches one week after seeing a link to it on The Daily Dish. The recipe originally comes from Monica Nelson Fitness and I really loved it. It is filling and savory and perfect for lunch. I love having something yummy in the fridge ready for me at lunch time when I am super hungry!

* 2 tsp olive oil
* 1 med. leek white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)(I used green onions)
* 1/2 cup diced tomato, or red/green pepper
* 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
* good pinch of salt
* a few grinds of seasoning salt
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 large eggs
* 1 cup soy milk, non-fat milk, or milk of choice
* 1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, more for sprinkling
* Optional- Crushed Red Pepper, Panko Bread crumbs for topping
* Toppings (optional)- salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, scallions

1. Heat oil in med. saucepan over med. heat. Add leek and tomatoes (or bell peppers-or any veggies you want really); cover and cook 5 mins or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3-4 mins, or until grains start to turn opaque. (They will not fully be cooked yet.)
2. Add 3 cups water and season with salt and the Seasoning Salt (I used Goya). Cover and reduce heat to med-low and simmer 5-10 more, or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let stand 5 mins.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 13x9 inch dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Stir very well and let some of the cheese melt. Transfer to prepared baking dish and if using Panko Crumbs or Bread crumbs add now and bake 30-35 mins, (or until browned around edges.)
4. Now you can toss with many toppings, some ideas: salsa, scallions, sour cream, and hot sauce! I serve with a side of steamed broccoli or a salad and a nice slice of good hearty bread.
*divided into 6 servings, it is 339 calories per serving*