Peruvian Baked Quinoa and Cheese Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Peruvian Baked Quinoa and Cheese

Think of this recipe as a protein-packed, gluten-free alternative to mac ’n’ cheese.



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2 tsp. olive oil
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1 medium leek, white and pale green parts halved and sliced (1 cup)
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½ cup diced red bell pepper
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½ cup diced green bell pepper
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1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
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2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
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2 large eggs
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1 cup nonfat milk
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1 ½ cups grated Cheddar cheese (4 oz.), plus more for sprinkling, optional


1. Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add leek and bell peppers; cover, and cook 5 minutes, or until tender. Stir in quinoa and garlic, and cook, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes, or until quinoa grains turn opaque.

2. Add 3 cups water, and season with salt. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes more, or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk together eggs and milk in large bowl. Fold in quinoa mixture and cheese. Transfer to prepared baking dish, and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until browned around the edges and on top.

Nutrition Information: 

12 g
Total Fat: 
10 g
Saturated Fat: 
4.5 g
27 g
72 mg
295 mg
2 g
3 g
Serves 8

Comments on this Recipe

I made this last night - it is sooo good! I used smoked cheddar cheese and added some mushrooms.

This was only the second time I'd made quinoa, but I think this recipe is made for it. VERY good. Exactly as the recipe says--a great alternative to mac and cheese.

We halved the quinoa and kept the veggie amt unchanged. We chose red quinoa and dusted the top with ground cumin, pepper, and about 1/3 c of shredded monterrey jack cheese and baked for the full 35 min. So very tasty!

This recipe has been a HUGE HIT anywhere I have brought it. Simple to make, healthy and delicious. I have found my signature dish!

I love this recipe. I do, however, suggest adding whatever fresh vegetables you have on hand (so far I've used broccoli, kale, chard).

I followed this recipe and it turned out okay, but definitely needed adjustments. The recipe calls for waaay too much water for the quinoa (I had about 1/3 cup sloshing around in the pot after I had finished cooking it), it needs more veggies, and it definitely needs more herbs and spices.

Delicious. I didn't have the same water problem as Kyra, in fact, I had to add a little extra water. Perhaps different varieties of quinoa and different altitudes change the water requirements. I did not use peppers since I don't like them. The second time I made it I used only 1 egg but increased the amount of made it more like mac and cheese and less like a frittata.

Made this recipe at a family reunion with ALL carnivores and everyone LOVED IT! Many of them wanted to know what quinoa was and how to cook with it. I am making it again tonight, but doubling the leeks and peppers. Last time I split the ingredients into two dishes and used cheddar cheese in one and manchego cheese in the other. Both turned out fantastic. Headed to the store now, so we'll see what cheese we decide to use tonight!

I've made this a bunch of times. Its my favorite go-to recipe for something simple when I have no idea what to make. Also, I use it whenever I'm introducing someone in my family to quinoa for the first time because its so tasty! The water has always been the right amount for me, but I'm definitly going to try Sadie's suggestion on 1 egg and more cheese because I always end up adding more cheese at the end!

This dish is absolutely delicious and a good way to introduce any "non-believers" to quinoa. I added black beans and sauteed mushrooms to the recipe and used smoked mozzarella instead of cheddar - the smokiness really makes this dish pop!

I can't wait to try this recipe. I know my family will love it. I would love it with beans, mushrooms and smoked mozzarella too.

I have brought this dish to several family dinners and parties and it is always a hit. A lot of people had either never heard of or never tried quinoa and it makes for a nice introduction to it. I also make it in pretty regular rotaion at home for dinner and my carnivore husband loves it. The past few times I have used "Extra sharp" shredded cheddar and I LOVE it. It gives it a really nice flavor and I'm going to use that from now on. I also use slightly more veggies than called for. I'm so glad I found this recipe!

Quick, tasty, gluten free and full of protien!!?? Love it! It really is a nice alternative to mac and cheese. Only problem I had was that the recipe called for too much water. I will use a 1/2 a cup less next time.

I think the 'water' problem has more to do with time it says to cook it--most quinoa recipes (including the instructions on most boxes of it) say to cook it about 15 minutes instead of the "3-4" it states here. That being said, I made this last night at 10,000 feet and had way too much water after the 3-4 minutes but it cooked away after about 15-20; then I proceeded and the dish turned out fine. I would suggest at least double the cheese, and I did it with just the one egg. A little bland--I can see it being good as a 'Mexican' version, adding green onions and black olives and such and taco seasoning into the "batter".

This is wonderful. Quick, easy, delicious!

Can't get enough of this recipe!

I made this two ways. One way I followed the directions completely, except to add 2 cups (doubled the recipe for a block party) of a three cheese blend that had added Philadelphia cream cheese in the same pkg. (white cheeses, shredded), 1 cup med cheddar, and cut back 1 egg. The second I made with cauliflower only - no peppers and everything else the same as above. I came home with less than 1/3 of the cauliflower recipe and less than 2/3 of the other. I really think they just didn't know what the pepper one was. Several people stopped and told me how delicious my "dish" was : ) I'm one happy neighbor!! Either way this is a YUMMY recipe!

I too let this cook longer that the 3-4 min. I also use vegetable broth instead of water, to add some extra flavor. This is a yummy and filling. As a side dish, even non-veggies love it.

Has anyone made this with almond milk or some other non-cow-dairy milk? My husband is allergic to cow's milk, which we can get around by using Manchego cheese...

We just finished eating this! What a great idea to use quinoa! We used the 'Mac and cheese style cauliflower' cheese sauce ( I love the nutritional yeast in it; all the cheesey flavour and way less calories.) I subbed water and Greek yogurt for the milk and added a sautéed onion, celery, shredded broccoli stem and garlic ( three crushed cloves). I folded the quinoa ( 2/3 of the way cooked) cheese sauce, veggies and small cut broccoli florets with two eggs in the skillet that I sautéed veggies in and poured the (soupey) mixture into a greased oven dish. Cooked for 45 min on 350. My kids asked for seconds and the house smells so good. We are all excited to gobble up the leftovers!!

This is a delicious recipe. I also added some Kale to it. YUM!