Vegan Quinoa "Macaroni and Cheese" Casserole With Spinach

Baked quinoa casserole with cheese

Marci / Flickr

  • Total: 45 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings

This quinoa casserole recipe is perfect for vegetarian and vegan kids (and adults!) who love a cheesy taste and need to get their protein. Filled with quinoa and spinach, this is a healthy twist on traditional comfort food and southern-style baked macaroni and cheese casserole.

If you need this recipe to be gluten-free, use cornstarch or gluten-free flour in place of the regular flour, since all of the other ingredients are wheat- and gluten-free.

Like cooking with quinoa? If you like quinoa, you might want to branch out and try some other whole grains, too, such as kaniwamillet, and teff! Whole grains such as these are versatile, and, if you buy them in bulk, they're a bargain! If you like quinoa already, here are some more healthy whole grains which you've got to try.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water for cooking quinoa
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheese (shredded; or nutritional yeast)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (use sea salt or kosher salt)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup vegan breadcrumbs (Italian seasoned or regular breadcrumbs plus 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning)
  • 2 tbsp. vegan margarine 
  • 2 tbsp. vegan parmesan cheese substitute (or nutritional yeast)
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring about 4 cups of water to a rolling simmer and add quinoa. Cook, partially covered, for about 12 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and fluffy.

  3. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9x12 baking dish and preheat oven to 375 F.

  4. In a separate small pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add flour, mixing to form a paste. Once the paste forms, add soymilk, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, stirring to combine. The mixture will begin to thicken. Add vegan cheese or nutritional yeast and spinach and combine well. Heat just until vegan cheese has melted and spinach is just beginning to wilt.

  5. Stir in quinoa, then spread evenly in the prepared casserole dish.

  6. Combine the melted vegan margarine, breadcrumbs, and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan. Arrange this topping on top of the quinoa and season with a bit of extra salt and pepper, to taste, if you'd like.

  7. Bake for 20 minutes.

  8. Turn oven up to 450 F and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until breadcrumbs are lightly crisped.

  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

  10. Enjoy!