Quinoa is usually considered a “health” food. This means that kids usually run screaming from anything including quinoa. I found the original inspiration for this recipe at Cooking Quinoa. I figured with the cross of Mexican flavors and cheese sauce plus the additional toppings that my kids might at least try it. Turns out it was a hit with the family and our friend Eddie who happened to come over. I thought it needed some different textual element which is why I served it with chips. This recipe will become part of our regular rotation of recipes.
Southwestern Quinoa Casserole
· Olive oil spray
· 1 onion, chopped
· 1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
· 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
· 2 cups frozen corn, thawed (frozen roasted corn from Trader Joe’s if available)
· 1 tablespoon minced garlic
· 3 tablespoons butter
· 3 tablespoons whole wheat or all-purpose flour
· ½ teaspoon chili powder
· 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
· ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
· 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
· 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon chipotle chili powder
· 1 teaspoon sea salt
· 2 cups milk
· 8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese (if you want it spicier you can use Pepper Jack)
· 3 cups cooked quinoa
· 1 ½ cups black beans (about 1 can)
· For serving: Pico De Gallo, Salsa, Avocado, Sour Cream and corn chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-by-13 baking pan with olive oil cooking spray.
2. Spray a large skilled with olive oil spray and heat to medium. Add onion, red and orange bell peppers and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add corn and garlic cook for 4 more minutes.
3. Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour, chili powder, paprika, cumin, Mexican oregano, chipotle chili powder and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in milk and cook, stirring often, until thick. Add cheese and cook until melted.
4. Place quinoa and black beans in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and toss. Add cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with corn chips, pico de gallo, salsa, avocado or sour cream if desired.