You know that cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that makes it's way to every potluck ever? That is so bad for you, but so yummy, that you eat heaps of it and you tell yourself that it's got broccoli so it's okay? Well here's your chance to pig out, because this version (made with quinoa instead of rice) is a lot better for you.
Of course, to convince my husband to eat it (and because I wanted more protein without having to make a separate dish), I threw some shredded rotisserie chicken in there. You can see in the photo that I just threw big florets of steamed broccoli in there. I ended up wishing that the broccoli was more evenly spread throughout, so I will recommend chopping it first.
This is hearty, and creamy, and just plain awesome. Kids (and big kids) will gobble it up.
Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Casserole
adapted from Eat Well Living Thin, also includes a recipe for gluten-free cream of anything soup!
serves 4 as main, 8 as side
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups broccoli florets
1 (10oz) can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or mushroom), low-sodium if you prefer (check labels for gluten-free, or make your own from the link above)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp milk
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)
1/2 tsp Splenda or sugar
1/4 tsp black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped (optional)
olive oil, for baking dish
Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve until water runs clear (this prevents it from tasting bitter). In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-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.
Meanwhile, boil or steam (steaming is better for preserving nutrients) broccoli until tender. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a shallow (8×8 in or 5-6 cups) casserole dish – or individual ramekins – with olive oil.
In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, Splenda, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli. (And chicken, if using - note that this will change the sauce to filling ratio. So add more mayonnaise or milk if it looks too dry - I didn't and mine came out fine.)
Spoon mixture into prepared casserole. Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes (20-25 minutes for ramekins) or until bubbly on the edges and golden.