Casseroles and bakes in general aren't very pretty to look at. Unless they're sitting under your nose where you can smell and see the ooey, melty goodness, they look messy and like a hodgepodge of things thrown together. Which they kind of are. Let's just say they're not exactly the highest art form in cooking. But that doesn't mean they're not delicious and that they don't serve a (very good) purpose: packing a lot of yummy things into one easy dish.
This spinach artichoke quinoa is really delicious. I love a good, hearty, meatless meal to change things up in my weekly menu. With a cheesy sauce, lots of greens, and hearty quinoa grains, this leaves you feeling totally satisfied. It's great on a cold evening. And it comes together pretty easily, too! You cook the quinoa, saute the veggies, make the cheese sauce, combine it all, throw it into a dish and bake for a little while. Perfect for making ahead of time, or for a potluck, or for a new mother.... or for those days when casserole sounds like just the thing (we all have those days, right?)
spinach artichoke quinoa bake
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 1/4 cups water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz frozen or fresh spinach (if frozen, cook according to directions and squeeze excess water out)
1 can artichokes, drained and chopped roughly
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3 oz cream cheese
8 oz mozzerella
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350. Make the quinoa: bring water and a generous dash of salt to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 18 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Cook the veggies: Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and saute until soft. Add spinach, garlic, and chopped artichokes, and stir to cook for about one minute. Remove from heat.
Make sauce: melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine, cooking for about a minute. (Cooking the flour in the butter for a bit removes the floury taste from the sauce.) Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Let simmer until thickened. Add cream cheese, then mozzarella, stirring until melted and combined.
In a large bowl - or in your pot if it all fits - combine the quinoa, veggies, and cheese sauce and stir until well combined. Transfer to a casserole dish - a 9x13 will work but I used a slightly smaller casserole dish which worked fine. Sprinkle parmesan cheese evenly over the top.
Bake 20 minutes covered with foil, then another 10 - 15 minutes without foil. If the parmesan hasn't browned to your taste, stick under the broiler for a minute or so.
Adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod