Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Quinoa zucchini casserole

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For years now I've been making a very simple casserole using leftover cooked rice, shredded zucchini, shredded cheese, green onions, and sometimes a quick bechamel cream sauce as a binder.

If my family liked zucchini more, this is exactly the kind of side dish they'd gobble down - starchy, cheesy, not over-the-top healthy but with a whiff of vegetable. As it happens, they're not zucchini fans. But I love zucchini. So I make this casserole for myself. (And for parties and potlucks.)

Recently I tried using leftover cooked quinoa instead of rice, and I think it's even better. The top layer of the casserole gets crunchier and the whole dish has a finer texture.

I'm swimming in quinoa these days thanks to my friends at Alter Eco Foods. They chose my recipe for salmon quinoa cakes with dill-caper sauce as a semi-finalist in their recent recipe contest, and now I'm getting quinoa care packages once a month for a year. Rice, take a rest. It's quinoa time!

What's your favorite way to eat quinoa? Leave a comment below with a link to your favorite quinoa recipe.

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Quinoa zucchini casserole
A simple side dish casserole with cooked quinoa, shredded zucchini, cheese, and green onions, all bound together in a light cream sauce. Serve as a vegetarian main course or as a side with grilled chicken or fish.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (measure after cooking; prepare according to package directions)
  • 1 pound zucchini, grated (2 large or 5 small)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (mozzarella, Monterey jack, gruyere, cheddar, etc.)
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a medium-sized casserole dish with cooking spray.Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir 1 minute to make a paste. Add the milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a simmer. The mixture will thicken as it heats up. Remove it from the heat, season with salt and pepper, and set it aside to cool a bit.In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, zucchini, grated cheese and green onions. Add the cream sauce and stir to combine. Turn the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake the casserole for about 45 minutes; the edges should be bubbling and the top golden brown. Serve hot.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 servings


Candace @ Cabot said...

I am always looking for new quinoa recipes. This one looks totally delicious!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Candace - I hope you like it! I bet it would be absolutely delicious with one of the Cabot Creamery Classic Cheddars...and the Sharp Light Cheddar would work just as well!

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