Discovering that your child loves quinoa is like coming home to find the dishes done and laundry folded (side note: thank you progressive education school with a cafeteria that provides healthy, nutritious meals).
This combined with discovering the texture of roasted, cooked quinoa (spoiler alert: crunchy bits, soft fluffy bits, same nutty flavor) borders parent cooking nirvana.
One reason I love folding quinoa into foods is that quinoa is a high source of protein, fiber and vitamins. Is it just me or does everyone find rice to be completely satisfying while it’s being shoveled it into your mouth but then afterwards you are left feeling bloat-y and slightly ashamed at having eaten too much rice? Well, quinoa leaves you feeling fuller than rice but in a good, not bloated kind of way. Not feeling bloated is an awesome way to feel. And no food shame either.
Surya’s response when she saw this coming out of the oven was “Wow. So cheesy and yummy looking.” She loves broccoli but if your little eaters don’t love it, this is a great way to make it more attractive. And if they do love broccoli, even better because this also gives them a serving of a superfood.
This recipe makes for great leftovers. I enjoyed it the next day topped with a fried egg over medium and of course a little dollop of harissa (aka chili paste for putting on everything).
I loosely modified this recipe from Cooking Classy’s One Pan Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Quinoa and Mark Bittman’s Roasted Quinoa with Potatoes and Cheese which is where I first learned about roasting quinoa.
If you’re in need of a vegetarian Thanksgiving side, this is quick to make and can be made ahead and reheated in the oven. Quinoa is gluten-free so to make this fully gluten-free, substitute the cheese for nutritional yeast or vegan cheese. I’ve made a few different types of casseroles with vegan cheese before with really tasty results.
And of course, if you want to go in the other direction and make this even cheesier (no judgment), try a coarser shredded cheddar or full fat cheddar cheese.