broccoli cheese casserole
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 cup quinoa (any color), rinsed under running water in a mesh sieve for a minute and drained
- 16 ounces broccoli florets, either pre-packaged or sliced from 2 large bunches of broccoli
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 10 twists of freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, omit if sensitive to spice
- 8 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) freshly grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 cup low- milk (cow’s milk tastes best but unsweetened plain almond milk works, too)
- ½ tablespoon butter or 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 slice whole wheat bread (substitute gluten-free bread for a gluten-free casserole)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
To cook the quinoa
- Bring the vegetable broth or water to boil in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized pot.
- Add the quinoa, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 17 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.
- Cover and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.
To roast the broccoli
- Slice any large broccoli florets in half to make bite-sized pieces.
- Transfer the broccoli to your prepared baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, until lightly coated on all sides.
- Sprinkle with salt and arrange in a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and starting to caramelize on the edges.
To make the breadcrumbs
- Tear your piece of bread into bite-sized pieces and toss them into a food processor or blender. Process until the bread has broken into small crumbs.
- In a small pan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, stirring often.
- Add the bread crumbs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly browned and crisp. Set aside to cool. (If you cooked your bread crumbs in a cast iron skillet, transfer them to a bowl to prevent them from burning.)
- Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the pot of quinoa, and stir to combine. Set aside ¾ cup of the cheese for later, then add the cheese to the pot.
- Pour in the milk and stir until the cheese and milk are evenly incorporated in the quinoa. Pour the cheesy quinoa into a 9-inch square baking dish and top with the roasted broccoli. Stir until the broccoli is evenly mixed in with the quinoa. Sprinkle the surface of the casserole with the reserved ¾ cup cheese, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until the top is golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
- Recipe adapted from my creamy roasted Brussels sprout and quinoa gratin, which was originally adapted from The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook by Katie Parker of Veggie and the Beast.
- Storage suggestions: Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 4 days. Gently reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.