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Author Notes: I originally found a Quinoa Spinach Mac n' Cheese over at Bakeaholic Mama, that I wanted to make more allergy-friendly and health-conscious. I employed cauliflower in place of the butter/flour/milk (all of which I'm personally allergic to) combo, to make a rich and flavorful 'cream' sauce, and I also scaled down the amount of cheese to make it a bit lighter in calories and fat. I used rainbow chard in this, but the great thing about dark leafy greens is how easily you can substitute one for another! If your favorite is spinach or kale, those would be delicious in here as well. —Lauren Goslin
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 3 cups chopped cauliflower florets
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 small, dried bay leaf
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 15 scrapes of a nutmeg seed
- 2 cups chopped rainbow chard (or another dark leafy green)
- 6 ounces grated cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/3 cup walnut meal
- 1 mist of olive oil
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan (one that has a fitted lid).
- Add the onions to the pan, and saute for about three minutes.
- Add the garlic to the pan, and saute for 30 seconds, just until fragrant.
- Next, add the cauliflower to the pan along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, the black pepper, onion powder, mustard powder, and bay leaf.
- Stir and saute the mix for 1-2 minutes, just until you smell the cauliflower.
- Add in the water and bring the mix up to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a low simmer, and cover the pan for 10 minutes.
- Let the mix simmer (uncovered) for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the milk.
- Remove and discard the bay leaf.
- At this time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the mix until smooth and creamy.
- Stir in the fresh nutmeg and six ounces of cheese (not the parmesan) while the cauliflower puree is still warm.
- Stir the mix until the cheese is melted or nearly so.
- Oil an 8 x 8 baking dish.
- To the cauliflower cheese mix, add the cooked quinoa, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and chopped greens.
- Gently stir the mix until well combined.
- Taste the mix and add extra salt if desired.
- Pour the contents of the saucepan into the oiled baking dish.
- Top evenly with the parmesan and walnut meal.
- Spray the top with a bit of olive oil from a Misto or cooking spray (this helps give the top a nice golden crust).
- Bake 20-25 minutes until top is lightly golden.
- Broil on high for another 2-3 minutes (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn) to get a nice brown crust.
- Cool for about 10 minute before cutting into squares and serving.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Dark, Leafy Greens