Crazy Easy (And Tasty!) Quinoa Casserole

Sometimes you just don’t have the time to be finicky and slowly sauté and simmer things to caux out every last bit of taste from a willing and able vegetable. Sometimes you want maximum taste from simply throwing some stuff together and putting it in the oven while you take care of the bills and help the little ones with their homework. Or scratch that and just have a bath while supper takes care of itself. This casserole lets you do just that. Easy. Incredibly tasty. Minimum effort. Win. (It’s also vegan, Macro-friendly, gluten-free and has no added oil in case any of that floats your boat.)

Yield: 4 servings as a main, 8 as a side – one 9 x 13 pan

What you need:

  • 1 cup quinoa, white or multicolor, soaked and drained or just washed and drained, your call on all counts
  • 2 cups water, unsalted vegetable stock or unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 tablespoon tamari, or more or less, to desired level
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram, or more if you like
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, or more if you like
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dill seed (optional, it’s one of those tastes you either really like or find frankly offensive, so include or omit accordingly)
  • 1 tablespoon kuzu or organic cornstarch
  • broccoli, the florets from about 1/2 a large crown
  • leek, about half of a large one, white stalk only, sliced on an angle into 1/2” thick max (thinner is fine) ovals

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Transfer the drained quinoa to a 9 x 13 baking dish (no need to oil it, but you can if you want). Pat it into a relatively even layer with the back of a spoon.
  3. In a measuring cup, blend about 1/3 cup of the water with the kuzu or cornstarch to form a smooth slurry. Whisk in the salt, spices and tahini to form a smooth and homogeneous mixture. Slowly whisk in the rest of the water so that the mixture is even.
  4. Pour the spiced tahini liquid over the quinoa carefully, trying to disturb it as little as possible. If necessary, carefully shake the pan to distribute everything throughout.
  5. Place the leek ovals over the quinoa in a single layer. Place the broccoli over the leeks.
  6. Cover the baking dish tightly with parchment paper and foil (or a lid) and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. If you want charred bits, then uncover and broil 5 minutes or so, watching to make sure things don’t burn. If you’re hungry, just pull it out of the oven after 45 minutes.
  7. Let rest 10 minutes or so and then serve.

Variations:

  • Feel free to add a clove of pressed garlic to the tahini liquid if desired. Alternatively (or in addition), you could add a teaspoon each of nutritional yeast and lemon juice.
  • Switch up the veggies for any combo that turns you on: finely cubed squash, sweet potato and red onion rocks. Or try edamame, kale and leek!
  • Tired of quinoa? Use 2/3 cup of millet or 1 cup of forbidden black rice instead; just increase the baking time to 1 hour.

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