Quinoa Spinach Arugula & Cheese Casserole

grannie geek, quinoa spinach cheese casserole

I’ve not thought about using quinoa as the vessel for a casserole, like you would rice or pasta.  But I came across this recipe a few months ago at Bakeaholic Mama, and it’s become one of my favorites.  Simply said, Carrie, aka Bakeaholic Mama, is a genius.  A healthy combination of quinoa, spinach, cheddar cheese sauce, topped with a buttery, crunchy panko bread crumbs makes this casserole an excellent choice as a main or side dish.

I really can’t get enough.  Last night, I served the casserole along side left over pork ribs.   This afternoon, I ate a healthy portion for lunch.  And I’ve been sneaking little bites all day long.  Oh, man, this is good, gooey, and satisfying.

I’ve changed the ingredients just a wee bit.  While at the grocery several weeks ago, I stumbled across a package of fresh baby spinach mixed with arugula.  I love arugula, so in the basket it went, especially with this recipe in mind.  Last night, I threw in a generous cup of fresh broccoli that I chopped and steamed in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.  If you’re a kale lover, why not give that a try?  Another great addition would be chopped water chestnuts or a handful of toasted pine nuts, or crunchy bacon bits.

Wow!  Give this one a whirl!

 

Quinoa Spinach Arugula & Cheese Casserole
Healthy, cheesy goodness
Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: Main Dish, Side Dish
Serves: 6-8
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk, whole or 2%
  • Dash of ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces by weight or 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (I used 2 cups of chicken stock and one cup of quinoa)
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach, or 2 packages (3.5 oz) fresh baby spinach/arugula mix
  • 1½ cups fresh broccoli, steamed in microwave 1½ minutes, drained
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add flour. Whisk together to make a roux. Add milk, and stir constantly until the white sauce is thickened. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Add shredded cheddar cheese in handfuls, stirring until completely melted after each addition. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix quinoa, cheese sauce, and uncooked spinach OR spinach/arugula mix. (In addition, I added 1½ cups of steamed broccoli, cooked in the microwave for 1½ minutes, and drained.)
  6. Pour mix into a 2-quart casserole dish. (Original recipe used 8" cast iron skillet)
  7. Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in microwave save dish. Add panko bread crumbs. Stir until incorporated. Sprinkle on top of ingredients in casserole dish.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until dish is bubbling and bread crumbs are browned.
Notes
Broccoli may be omitted.
Kale may be substituted.
Other additions: chopped water chestnuts; toasted pine nuts; crispy bacon bits.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6-8

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