SOUTHWESTERN QUINOA CASSEROLE
This was some pretty good stuff! Easy to prepare and a nice option for a healthy but flavorful meal. It is a nice weeknight meat free option (can be totally veggie if you sub veggie broth for chicken). The quinoa is a healthy choice for those watching their glycemic load and it is filling! The dish will serve 8 and makes for great leftovers! I enjoyed it COLD after a run and found it light enough to not upset a sensitive post run stomach (13 miles yesterday:) and it is a great bit of post workout fuel! It would be great packed as a lunch as it could be eaten cold or reheated. I love having a nice healthy easy lunch to grab at home and sending some good brain food with the kids to school.
1 and 1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water and 3 TBSP chicken granules)
1 cup frozen corn 15 oz. canned black beans (drained)
6 to 8 ounce carton plain Greek Yogurt (or 3/4-1 cup) (the first time I made this I used 6 oz and it was less “wet” but the second time I used 8 and it was creamier and moister, both were good, it is a preference)
10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes, drained (I prefer the cilantro lime version)
1/2 cup salsa (a homemade or deli style rather than jarred is ALWAYS better, but not required)
2 cups Mexican blend cheese (this is one 16 oz package)
1 1/4 tsp. Paprika
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Chilli Powder
OR use 1 TBSP or a taco or chili seasoning in place of the 3 spices above
Place your quinoa in 1/4 cup warm water for about two minutes, stir to distribute water evenly.
Heat a large frying pan on high and add quinoa. This should cook 2-3 minutes to allow the water to cook off.
Next, add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Allow to boil 2 minutes then turn heat to low and let cook, covered, for 15 minutes.
Remove from burner and let stand, still covered, for 5 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking do the following:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a medium/large bowl, combine the corn, beans, yogurt, tomatoes, salsa, spices and 1 cup cheese and stir well.
Once the quinoa has finished, add it to the mixture and spread into a 9×13 inch pan (spray with nonstick spray first–generously as quinoa can stick). Top with one cup of cheese.
Bake the casserole uncovered for 28-30 minutes. This will allow it to heat completely and the cheese to brown. Remove it sooner if the cheese has browned as oven times do vary.
You can substitute veggie broth for chicken to serve a meat free dish.
I prefer a spicy dish so we used a fresh hot salsa blend. You may sample the blend before adding the quinoa to adjust spices to your preference. I have seen variations of this dish with no added spices but that seems very bland.
I am going to add a bit of fresh cilantro next time, because, why not, LOVE the cilantro.
How do you feel about quinoa overall? If you are new to quinoa or tried this and found it too much quinoa to veggie ratio, consider adding 1/4 cup more of each veggie next time:)