Cheesy Sausage, Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole

Cheesy Sausage, Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole

I traded white rice for whole-grain quinoa and kicked out any processed ingredients for a new take on this comfort classic.  Serve with a simple green salad, like Kale and Brussel Sprouts with Lemon Dressing. You can freeze an extra pan of this whole-grain main for kid-friendly comfort or make it ahead of time for a busy weeknight.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 4 (4-oz.) links sweet chicken sausage, coined
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbls. minced garlic
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 6 cups chopped fresh broccoli florets (can be frozen – thawed)
  • 1 tsp. Thyme, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Bring 2 1/2 cups water and quinoa to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and sausage; cook 7 minutes, stirring to brown. Remove sausage mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  4. Add flour, butter, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add milk and stock; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Reduce heat to medium; stir in broccoli, 2 teaspoons thyme, 3/8 teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon black pepper, and red pepper. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Stir in quinoa and sausage mixture.
  5. Coat a 9 x 13 glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray. Pour quinoa mixture into the dishe. Combine remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and panko in a bowl; add remaining 1 teaspoon thyme, remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and cheddar. Sprinkle cheese mixture evenly over casseroles. Bake at 400°F for 18 minutes or until browned.