I’m not sure if it’s a Midwestern thing, but there is a classic cheesy broccoli rice casserole that definitely made the rounds in our area throughout my childhood. Recently, it occurred to me that I could resurrect that dish with a fresh, whole food spin. I swapped out the white rice for quinoa and used a delicious homemade cheese sauce. I have to say, I was thrilled with the results. Our whole family loved this meal and it made for great leftovers as well.

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

By Annie
Yield: about 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

1½ cups quinoa

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 shallots, diced

2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 cups (8 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded*

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Directions:

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Meanwhile, place the broccoli in a saucepan and add a couple inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil just 1-2 minutes more, until the broccoli is crisp-tender. Drain immediately and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, shallots, garlic powder, dry mustard and cayenne. Continue whisking the mixture until it is light golden, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk. Allow the sauce to simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the Cheddar until melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, broccoli florets, shredded cooked chicken and the cheese sauce. Fold together gently until evenly combined.

Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased casserole dish. Bake until the top is lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm.

*For best results, use freshly shredded cheese. Pre-shredded cheese comes coated in things such as flour, cornstarch to prevent clumping, which can affect the texture of the sauce.

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One thought on “Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

  1. kelly richrdson said:

    is there a good substitute for milk for this recipe? Looks very yummy by the way!

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