Buffalo Chicken Quinoa “Mac” & Cheese
I love a good buffalo chicken wing. While eating chicken wings is pretty barbaric, they’re just so darn delicious. Buffalo sauce is so rich and wonderful, with a great kick at the end, and is tasty on just about anything, in my opinion. So when I came across this recipe for Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac & Cheese, I just had to try it.
I’ve used quinoa as a base for cheesy dishes, and I love mac & cheese with hot sauce on top, but had never thought to incorporate buffalo sauce into a quinoa dish before. Genius! This dish could also be made vegetarian without the chicken.
You top your tasty creation with goat cheese, but I might try blue cheese next time since that’s such a classic combination with buffalo chicken wings. (We did end up sprinkling some blue cheese on top of the finished product and it was pretty yummy.) We also topped our with an extra dash of buffalo sauce, so try that out depending on how strong you want the buffalo flavor to be.
Beware: This dish is addicting and it will be hard to not eat three bowls of it in one sitting!
What you’ll need: quinoa, chicken, garlic powder, onion powder, flour, milk, salt, pepper, scallions, buffalo sauce, cheddar cheese, goat or blue cheese.
First, combine 1-1/2 cups quinoa with 3 cups of water in a saucepan and bring the water to a boil. Once it’s boiling, season with a dash of salt, cover, reduce heat to simmer and let it cook for 15 minutes until the quinoa is nice and fluffy and has absorbed all of the liquid.
While the quinoa is cooking, season two chicken breasts with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and cook in a non-stick skillet sprayed with Pam until cooked. I had some really thick chicken breasts so it took a while to cook through. Next time, I would probably butterfly the chicken so it cooks faster. (I also made an extra chicken breasts for salads the next day :)) Once the chicken is cooked, chop into bite-sized pieces.
In a saucepan, whisk together the flour and 1/2 cup milk over medium heat.
Pour in remaining milk and the chopped scallions. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly and after about a minute or two remove the pan from the heat. Add the buffalo sauce and cheddar cheese.
Stir until the cheese is melted and combined. At this point, stealing a line from Velveeta commercials… I’d say this is liquid gold. Take a taste. It’s pretty awesome.
Add the cooked quinoa and chicken to the sauce.
Stir until everything is combined into a delicious mixture.
Spray a casserole dish with Pam, and pour the mixture into the dish. Using a spatula, smooth the top.
Sprinkle your cheese of choice over the top. I used goat cheese per the recipe, but I might try blue cheese next time since that’s such a classic combination with buffalo chicken wings. (We did end up sprinkling some blue cheese on top of the finished product and it was pretty yummy.)
Broil for 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.
Let it sit for a few minutes so it can cool down slightly and firm up. Then scoop into bowls and enjoy! We added a little more buffalo sauce on, too, which didn’t hurt…
The picture truly doesn’t do it justice!
Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Mac & Cheese
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.
- 1-1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 chicken breasts
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- salt & pepper
- 2 Tablespoons gluten-free (or regular) all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups 2% milk, divided
- 4 scallions, sliced
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
- 1-1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup goat cheese or blue cheese, crumbled
- Preheat broiler.
- Cook quinoa according to package directions and set aside.
- Season chicken breast on both sides with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and cook in a non-stick sprayed skillet over medium heat until cooked all the way through. Chop into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Whisk together flour and 1/2 cup milk in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Pour in remaining milk, and scallions. Switch to a spatula and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly, then cook for one minute while boiling.
- Remove the pan from the heat then add in buffalo sauce and cheddar cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted.
- Add the cooked quinoa and chicken, and stir to combine.
- Pour into a non-stick sprayed casserole dish and top with goat or blue cheese.
- Broil for 5-7 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and sauce is bubbly.
- Let it sit for 5 minutes to cool down slightly and thicken up, then scoop into bowls and enjoy! (Sprinkling with extra cheese or buffalo sauce is optional, and definitely recommended!)