Since it’s still comfort food weather over here (20 degrees, bleh), I thought I’d sneak one more casserole in before it turns into salad and barbecue season! It was a busy weekend for us…Darryl was accompanying students all day Saturday, and then we each had a gig on Sunday – mine was in the afternoon, his was in the evening. It just seemed like the kind of weekend where you need a cozy and hearty dinner, so I made this dish on Saturday afternoon.
This casserole is creamy, crunchy, comforting, and nutritious.
I’m always kind of wishing that comfort food was a little bit healthier, you know what I mean? Sometimes a casserole tastes so good but is not the healthiest option. However, this dish is comforting and healthy! Lots of quinoa, broccoli, and walnuts on top make this a deliciously healthy dish. If you are not dairy free, then go ahead and use dairy cheese and regular milk. If you can’t do nuts, use the non-dairy milk of your choice and eliminate the walnuts on top.
- 1 cup quinoa
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 3 cups broccoli florets,chopped
- 3 Tablespoons buttery spread
- 3 Tablespoons gluten free flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1¾ cup almond milk
- 1 cup Daiya mozzarella cheese
- For the topping:
- 1½ cups gluten free breadcrumbs
- ½ chopped walnuts
- 2 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- garlic salt to taste
- Preaheat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the quinoa, chopped onion, and 2 cups of water in a pan with a lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until the quinoa is done, about 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, place the broccoli in a pan with about an inch of water. Put the lid on the pan and steam over medium heat until the florets are tender, but still bright green.
- During this time you can also prepare the breadcrumbs. Heat the vegan buttery spread and the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the gluten free bread crumbs, walnuts, and garlic salt to taste. Cook the breadcrumbs until they turn golden brown, stirring often. Don't walk away, they will burn quickly if you do! Once they are golden brown, remove from heat and set aside.
- When the quinoa is done, place it in a casserole dish. Drain the broccoli and add it to the casserole dish.
- In a separate pan, (you can just rinse the broccoli pan and re-use it), melt the 3 tablespoons of vegan buttery spread over medium heat Add the gluten free flour and stir to combine. Slowly add the almond milk, stirring constantly. The sauce should start to thicken. Add the Daiya cheese and the salt and pepper. Stir. The sauce should be thick and creamy, like what you would put on macaroni and cheese. If it gets too thick, just add a bit more almond milk.
- Pour the sauce over the quinoa and broccoli. Stir. Sprinkle the walnut and breadcrumb mixture on top.
- Place in the oven, uncovered, for about 10 minutes, just to heat everything through and let the flavors combine.
- Serve immediately.
The breadcrumbs can be store bought, or you can make your own from the ends of your gluten free bread. I save the ends of our loaves just for making breadcrumbs. Make sure you stay right by the pan when you are frying them, it’s so easy to burn them. And that’s a mess, because they taste awful.
This casserole is best the first day when the breadcrumbs are nice and crisp, but the leftovers were still good the next day, too. The topping was just a little bit softer.