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How to make spinach artichoke quinoa casserole

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Quinoa is one of those grains that can really trip up people. This is mostly because although it looks and acts like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed, which makes it one of those nutritious proteins that is low in carbs but high in healthy things such as fiber. Plus, it's crazy delicious, especially when it's combined with other healthy ingredients such as artichokes and spinach, as in the recipe that follows.
For this casserole you could use a concentrated cream soup such as cream of mushroom or cream of chicken. But you've come this far in preparing yourself a healthy meal, so why not just make a quick béchamel? One quick cheat is with the artichokes. It can be very intimidated looking at those cone-shaped vegetables with lots of sharp, pointed (and largely inedible leaves), so save yourself the trouble and opt for jarred artichokes. If they're marinated, you'll boost the flavor profile of this dish even more.
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Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
1-1/2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed
3 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped in a small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 cups artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-by-13 casserole dish.
Combine quinoa and vegetable stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
Turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, until onion is translucent and soft. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
Add spinach and cook just until it wilts, about 3 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a separate medium-sized saucepan, add butter until it melts. Add flour and whisk until smooth. Allow the flour to cook out for about 2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the heavy cream, whisking the entire time.
Turn heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking the entire time to prevent burning.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Whisk in mascarpone cheese and 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Stir until smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, spinach mixture and cheese sauce. Stir in the remaining mozzarella cheese and mix well.
Pour contents into the casserole dish and sprinkle with feta cheese.
In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and sprinkle over the casserole.
Cover the casserole with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until top is golden and crunchy and casserole is hot throughout.
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