This Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Crunchy Quinoa Topping is a new classic for your family dinner table. A homemade bechamel sauce with cheddar and Parmesan cheeses tops fresh broccoli.
Large family dinners call for indulgent casseroles but this dish will surprise you with its hidden protein content! Got to love the power of quinoa.
This time of year, when there is no shortage of family gatherings, I am always looking for new ways to put a twist on classics. This broccoli cheese casserole is amazing just with the sauce and vegetables, but as more of our friends and family become vegetarians, I look for ways to amp up the nutrition in vegetable dishes. The addition of quinoa to this casserole kicks up the protein content and gives it a satisfying crunch.
But lets be honest with ourselves here for a moment. Really, really honest. Yes, this is an amazing side dish for a family gathering, but its also CHEESY (gloriously so), quite possibly the only food on earth that I am patently unwilling to do without. This is a dish that Kevin and I have sat down to as a quick freezer to oven dinner too. This Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Crunchy Quinoa Topping is a pinch hitter that can really satisfy all on its own (well maybe with a salad too).
As cheesy and rich as this Broccoli Cheese Casserole with Crunchy Quinoa Topping is, the best part is it can be made ahead (a necessity for large gatherings or a busy weeknight).Very important to consider during a busy time of year.
I’m so glad that I made a double batch, and stuck one in the fridge and one in the freezer for Thanksgiving. Our kitty Zora has been sick this week, so with everything that’s going on, we’ve made several trips to the vet. It’s good to know that I have one less thing to worry about! And time to snuggle my kitty too!
Do yourself a favor and take the few minutes it requires to get this dish ready now and throw it in the freezer…it will be ready when you need it and that’s just what everyone needs in a busy holiday season.
It's easy to assemble this dish in advance and refrigerate in for 2-3 days or freeze it for up to one month before baking.
- 2 lbs broccoli florets
- 1/3 cup quinoa, ground in a coffee grinder
- 1 cup bread crumbs (use gluten free bread for a gluten free dish)
- 8 oz cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 3 TB butter, divided
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F and butter a shallow 3 quart baking dish.
Fill a large stick pot with water and bring to a boil.
Blanche broccoli for 3 minutes and then drain well.
Coarsely chop steamed broccoli and
Using the same (empty) pot, melt two tablespoons of the butter. and then add all the breadcrumbs and all but a tablespoon of the ground quinoa.
In a small bowl stir together the melted butter with the breadcrumbs and all but a tablespoon of the ground quinoa.
Return the pot to the stove and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat.
Saute the onions in the butter until golden brown.
Add the remaining quinoa and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add milk and cream and bring to a gentle simmer.
Once the sauce is hot and starting to thicken, stir in the mustard and remove from the heat.
Slowly, add in cheese a little at a time while stirring constantly.
Stir in broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread broccoli mixture into prepared dish and cover with breadcrumb quinoa topping.
Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until broccoli is tender and the topping is golden brown.
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