Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Casserole

We love a good casserole here at Fit Mama In 30 especially when it contains quinoa, cheese, and oh yeah... crispy broccoli with panko bread crumb topping! This is a family favorite, and hopefully one at your home as well! It is a little longer than 30 minutes but totally worth it! * Add shredded rotisserie chicken for more protein! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed under running water in a mesh sieve for a minute and drained
  • 16 ounces broccoli florets, either pre-packaged or sliced from 2 large bunches of broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • few twists freshly ground black pepper 
  • *optional ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces (about 2 ½ cups) freshly grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  •  1 cup whole wheat parmesan panko bread crumbs (enough to top casserole)

DIRECTIONS:

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
    2. To cook the quinoa: Bring the vegetable broth or water to boil in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized pot. Add the quinoa, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 17 to 20 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Cover and set aside to steam for 10 minutes.
    3. To roast the broccoli: Slice any large broccoli florets in half to make bite-sized pieces. Transfer the broccoli to your prepared baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, until lightly coated on all sides. Sprinkle with salt and arrange in a single layer. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the broccoli is tender and starting to caramelize on the edges.
    4.  Add the panko bread crumbs and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until slightly browned and crisp. 
    5. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees. Add the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the pot of quinoa, and stir to combine. Set aside ¾ cup of the cheese for later, then add the rest of the cheese to the pot. Pour in the milk and stir until the cheese and milk are evenly incorporated in the quinoa.
    6. Pour the cheesy quinoa into a 9-inch square baking dish and top with  1/4 cup bread crumbs and the roasted broccoli. Stir until the broccoli is evenly mixed in with the quinoa. Sprinkle the surface of the casserole with the reserved ¾ cup cheese, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.
 
  1. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, until the top is golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

*Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate better broccoli casserole. 

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