Diabetes-Friendly Recipes

Healthy "Mac" & Cheese

Recipe developed by Aimee Frantzen. For more type 1 insight check out her blog, "The Diabetic Foodie".

Nothing says comfort food quite like mac and cheese! Here's a healthy alternative that uses quinoa instead of pasta! Quinoa is a protein-packed grain that originates from Peru. From a diabetic standpoint, it boasts tons of protein and amino acids for only 31 grams of carbohydrates per serving. While I am not crazy about the taste of it plain, it’s delicious when added to salads and casseroles.

This recipe makes a hearty entree given all the protein from the quinoa and cheese and can be easily converted into a vegetarian dish by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken broth. The nutritional analysis as printed below reflects this dish as a full entree (6 servings rather than 8-10 servings).

Servings: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total: 1 hour


  • 1 ½ cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 16 oz. bag frozen spinach, defrosted with all the liquid squeezed out
  • 1 Tbsp 1 olive oil
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup shredded low fat mozzarella cheese
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs yellow mustard


  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add the olive oil.
  2. Let the oil heat up before adding the chopped peppers, green onions, and spinach.
  3. Saute until the peppers have softened and then add the garlic. Saute for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the quinoa, broth, salt, pepper, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and mustard and then bring the contents of the skillet to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for another 15 minutes. Make sure all the liquid has been absorbe - if your quinoa is cooked but the liquid hasn't fully absorbed you can drain it a bit to prevent a watery casserole.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the cheddar cheese and skim milk to the mixture, stir well to combine.
  7. Pour the contents of the skillet into a casserole dish (whatever you have works…).
  8. Mix the panko bread crumbs and mozzarella cheese and sprinkle the mixture on top of the casserole. Drizzle the top with a little more olive oil.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Per serving: Calories: 423; Total Fat: 21.5 grams; Cholesterol: 50 mg; Sodium: 620 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 47 grams; Protein: 24 grams



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