casserole, rewritten.

I married a Dutch boy. A big, Dutch boy who likes warm, hearty, filling meals. Casseroles are an easy solution to that. They’re usually quick, easy to put together, and filled with a lot of (terrible for you) tasty ingredients. Starchy grains (with little nutritional value), condensed whatever soups, and artery-cloggers.

Well, this take on casserole is still not the best, but there is some nutritional value, and it can satisfy that need for a hearty dish on a cold, wintry night. Using quinoa instead of rice ups the nutrition (and protein content!). Adding a ton of broccoli gives you some of that green that you need daily as well.

Start off cooking your quinoa. Some say that you should rinse the quinoa before you cook it, but I don’t find that necessary. I guess if you don’t love the nutty flavor that quinoa can have, rinsing may help with that. But seems like an unneccessary step to me.

After putting your quinoa on, get your broccoli ready. Chop it up well, stems and all, but leaving some bigger florets (I love those!). Put all of your broccoli in a medium pot, cover with water, and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer just until you poke it with a fork. Then drain the water.

While you’ve got your pots going, mix together all your other ingredients. This is what holds it all together, but feel free to cut back on some of the amounts. I don’t think you need as much mayo as is called for, and you could probably cut back on the cheese (but who can resist all that chessey yum?).

Once the broccoli and quinoa are ready, mix them all into the bowl. Spread in an 8×8 pan (this is actually an 8×10 … it’s what I have!) and top with some parmesean cheese.
Pull it out of the oven when the top cheese starts to get a little brown or bubbly.

This is definitely one of my favorite winter recipes! It satisfies the need for something warm and hearty and even not so good for you, while still maintaining some nutrition.

Quinoa-Broccoli Casserole
One 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or mushroom), low-sodium if you prefer
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa (see note*)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*To cook quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, sugar, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.

Spoon mixture into 8×8 casserole dish.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

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