Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rainbow Quinoa Casserole

Quinoa (keen-wa) is a wonderful grain that doesn't get near enough credit. Full of protein and fiber, easy to cook and tasty! We all know whole grains are part of a healthy diet and I am happy to use quinoa as my whole grain of choice. We use it in many dishes in place of rice.

I love having a refrigerator full of fresh veggies, it just makes me FEEL healthy looking at them. I also love making casseroles. When cooking for so many people a one pot meal is a welcome option.

My casseroles are always made based on what I have on hand, I suck at planning :) First I like to use a rainbow of veggies. To make sure your body is getting all of the proper nutrients it is important to eat a diet diverse in colors (colors that grow, not like fruit loops.) Then I pick a grain, usually quinoa or brown rice, but pasta is not to be ignored in my house. Sometimes I choose a meat or meat substitute to add and sometimes I just leave it out all together. And then for the sauce. The sauce is usually where most the calories come from in a casserole, full of cream, cheese.... and more cream and cheese (cheese is yummy). Using my casserole creating method this is what I came up with for tonight's dinner and it turned out delicious, I love it when that happens :)

Rainbow Quinoa Casserole


1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups organic tomato/roasted red pepper soup (I love this stuff and I can buy it at Costco!)
1/2 cup tofutti cream cheese (AKA: fake cream cheese)
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
2-3 cups spinach
1 zucchini
1 yellow bell pepper
4 small (or 2 large) carrots
2 tomatoes
1 package fake burger stuff..... not bad, I had it in the fridge (feel free to use real meat; beef, turkey, chicken)


Preheat oven to 350 F and grease a 13 X 9" pan.

Soak quinoa for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Cook as you would rice using 1 1/2 cups water for 1 cup quinoa.

Wash and chop your veggies into bite size pieces. Put them in a bowl and look at how pretty they are! Some people might saute their veggies here, but I prefer not to cook the crap out of my vegetables most of the time, a little bit of crunch does wonders for a dish like this.

Mix 1 cup soup and fake cream cheese into your veggies.

Cook meat, fake meat... whatever you are using and mix it into your veggies.

Mix cooked quinoa into your veggies.

Put your bowl of goodness into your greased casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Pour remaining cup of soup over the top and top that with the 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar.

Cover with foil and put it in the oven at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and cook for 5-10 more minutes.

Serve with a side of fruit.

*I always salt & pepper my food after it's cooked, I add less that way if any.

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