Some days are so rough that cheese can make them better. Or champagne. Or both. The other day was one of these days. After being yelled at by a customer at work I went home and got cooking.
This recipe is basically a mac and cheese recipe that I adapted into a quinoa recipe. Sure there’s plenty of dairy in here, but if you’re going to indulge in one area, why not make the other areas more healthy, right?! I’ve already explained how great quinoa is for you, so there’s no need to repeat all that, but it’s also incredibly versatile. I love replacing pasta with it.
This starts out with a basic bechamel sauce. The simple butter, flour and milk mixture is a cooking staple and the foundation for many great dishes like souffles, casseroles, and mac and cheese. It makes the whole dish super creamy and really ties everything else together. I like the cheddar/broccoli combo in pretty much any occurrence so the veggies are a perfect addition here. You can cook this like a casserole or in individual ramekins for easier serving.
cheesy baked quinoa
makes 6 servings
1 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk, warm
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar, plus more for sprinkling on top
2 cups frozen broccoli florets, defrosted and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the quinoa very well, drain, and place it in a small saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, add the butter and flour to another small sauce pan and use a whisk to combine them over low heat about 2 minutes. When the mixture has started to bubble, but not yet browned, add the milk. Whisk consistently until the mixture thickens. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and continue whisking until it’s melted completely. When the quinoa is finished cooking, combine it with the remaining ingredients and your bechamel sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine everything and pour it into an 8″ x 8″ baking dish or individual ramekins. Sprinkle a little extra cheese on top, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Serve immediately.