I haven’t posted a legitimate recipe for a while, unless you count the buttermilk chocolate cupcakes.  I just haven’t felt like cooking.  I wanted to be a good wife and make dinner for my husband this past Saturday, so I took inspiration from a quinoa recipe I saw in a magazine.

 

I changed a few things, including substituting cheddar cheese for the fat-free feta & cream cheese combination the recipe originally called for, since I thought my husband didn’t care for feta.  I also used the “one pot” approach to cook the quinoa, thinking it would make a creamier product.

As we’re on our third or fourth bite, I mentioned the changes I made – and he says, “Yes, it’s kinda dry – I bet the cream cheese and feta would have been better.”

I swear, he does love me.  Even though I don’t know his cheese preferences.

Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Bake [adapted from Shape]

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup almond milk + 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped (I used half green, half red)
  • 2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed & drained
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring quinoa, almond milk, and water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover until all liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, saute onion and bell peppers until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add in spinach, garlic, pepper flakes, salt, and paprika, stirring well to mix.  Cook an additional 3 minutes, until garlic becomes fragrant but not brown.
  4. Add vegetables and 3/4 cup of cheese to the quinoa mixture, mixing well.  Spread into a sprayed baking dish.
  5. Top mixture with remaining 1/4 cup of cheese and breadcrumbs.  Spray top lightly with cooking spray.
  6. Bake 25 – 30 minutes, until top is browned and casserole looks slightly puffy.

Slice into 12 squares.

Approximate nutrition (per 1/6 of the recipe, or 2 squares): 245 calories, 10 grams fat, 14 grams protein

I was amazed at the awesome vitamin and mineral content, too: Vitamin A 196%, Vitamin C 79%, Calcium 26%, Iron 24%.  A great entrée for vegetarians, maybe a better side dish for meat-lovers. :)

Simple sides: fries for my potato loving husband & veggies for me (which I lovingly shared ;)).

We did quite a job on the casserole for not being HUGE fans of the results!

It was filling, healthy, and a very easy dish to make.  Next time I think I’d try the feta approach, and possibly leave out the eggs and cook it just on the stove top.  More quinoa experiments to come! :)

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