We traded white rice for whole-grain quinoa and kicked out any processed ingredients for a new take on this comfort classic. Freeze an extra pan of this whole-grain main for kid-friendly comfort. To add more flavor to quinoa, try toasting it. Here's how: After you've rinsed and drained the quinoa, heat a saucepan over medium-high heat and add the quinoa. Toast, stirring, until the grains begin to smell fragrant. Then, add the water and cook as normal.
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
4 (4-oz.) links sweet chicken Italian sausage, casings removed
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups whole milk
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
6 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
Est. added sugars 0g
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Bring 2 1/2 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and sausage; cook 7 minutes, stirring to crumble sausage. Remove sausage mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
Add flour, butter, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk and stock; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium; stir in broccoli, 2 teaspoons thyme, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in quinoa and sausage mixture.
Coat 2 (8-inch) square microwave-safe glass or ceramic baking dishes with cooking spray. Divide quinoa mixture between dishes. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and panko in a bowl; add remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and cheddar. Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over casseroles. Bake at 400°F for 18 minutes or until browned, or follow freezing instructions.
How To: FREEZE: Cool unbaked casseroles completely; cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 2 months. THAW: Remove foil. Microwave at HIGH 20 minutes or until thawed. REHEAT: Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 25 minutes; then broil 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Thanks to ElizabethMN, I used spicy sausage and I'm so glad I did. This takes some work but the finished product is worth it. Next time I will definitely splurge for some special sharp cheddar. My broccoli came out a bit under cooked; will steam it 5 minutes next time.
The entire family enjoyed this dish. My only change was to use 1% milk as I did not want to make a separate trip to the store for the whole milk. My only other comment would be that it is not very cheesy. I might add a bit more next time.
Used 2/3 the cooked quinoa, doubled the cheese and used applegate links, which didn't have skins, so I used chunks of sausage instead. That probably took some fat out that was added by the extra cheddar. Will use the sparkrecipes nutrition calculator for nutrition info. It was relatively easy - just have all the ingredients set to go initially. I also wouldn't cook it with the ground pepper, but add it later.
Loved the flavor of this! Th first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly. The cheese and breadcrumb mixture didn't add anything but a crunchy topping. The second time I made it, I cooked the broccoli with the onions and carrots, and substituted kielbasa for ground sausage. Added 8 oz of shredded cheese to the milk/stock mixture, then combined everything to bake. I left the breadcrumb topping off. This made it basically a yummy version of mac and cheese using quinoa instead of pasta. Would definitely make it again this way.
I made this exactly as the recipe called for with one exception - use of "hot"Italian instead of "sweet" Italian sausage. I found this dish to be surprisingly good. The further I got into the recipe the more anxious I got about it being a bland dish (and that I would have TWO casseroles of it!). A few things: 1) It isn't cheesy. I wouldn't add more cheese, but I would revise the name of the dish to avoid disappointing those I am serving it to. :) 2) Speaking of cheese, I used Trader Joe's unexpected cheddar. The flavor in was enough cheese to carry the dish. Did I want more cheese? Heavens yes! But then I wouldn't be cooking light. If I used a pre-shredded or otherwise less flavorful cheddar I would have been disapointed. 3) I used my local butcher's fresh made hot Italian sausage. It was "Minnesota hot" (i.e., not hot), but I would not make this with sweet sausage - I fear it would be too bland. 4) This is comfort food - this is no show piece. But it would suffice for a carry in (again - assuming you get high quality cheddar and sausage)5) I'm not a quina sort of gal - I prefer rice, but it was great in this dish. I didn't long for higher calorie rice while eating it. 6) Editing is getting a little sloppy at CL. In step 4, add the flour etc to the Dutch oven, not the pan. 7) Next time I make it (it will be a while since there are two pans of this stuff!) I will do the following: a) add another 2 cups of chopped florets or rough chop all the broccoli (to get more broccoli in those 6 cups). b) shred or dice the carrots (again to get more veggies in the half cup)
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