I hate using the term casserole – it conjures visions of creamed soup from a can. Blech! Trust me, there’s none of that in this recipe. Just hearty, delicious, baked, cheesy goodness.
Domestocrat’s Cheddar Broccoli Bacon Quinoa Casserole (yields 12 servings)
1 large onion, chopped finely
6 shallots, minced
2 tsp. EVOO
2 broccoli crowns, trimmed and chopped (roughly 3 cups)
7 slices bacon
3 cups 2% milk (whole milk will do too)
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp. scallions, chopped
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup AP flour
1 lb. cheddar cheese
1/4 lb. aged gouda (optional)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
6 cups cooked quinoa
Salt & pepper to taste
To begin, cook the bacon on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Once it’s cooked, set aside on a paper towel lined plate.
Chop the onions and shallots and sauté in a big pot over medium-high heat.
When the onions and shallots have browned, add the scallions and garlic and mix together thoroughly.
Once they are mixed add the flour and butter. Cook together for 3 minutes. Add the milk, chicken stock, and spices, stir, and bring to a slight bubble over medium-low heat. At this point the roux will begin to thicken.
When the roux has thickened, it’s time to add the cheese. I used primarily cheddar but threw in some gouda too for some extra nuttiness. That’s totally optional though. Cut up the cheese and completely melt it into the soup over medium-low heat. This will take about 15 minutes. Stir often!
As the cheese is melting wash the broccoli and cut into bite-sized florets. Boil for 3-4 minutes until it is just tender. Drain and set aside. At the same time cook the quinoa – fill a pot with water, bring to a boil, add the quinoa, cook until al dente like pasta, drain, and also set aside. Cooking the quinoa will take about 5-6 minutes.
When everything is ready (the cheese sauce, quinoa, and broccoli), combine them together thoroughly in a big bowl.
Transfer the mixture to a big baking dish.
Top with the chopped bacon and bake on 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes (or until the top has browned).
Not only is the flavor cheesy and delicious, the textures in this dish are great too. The bacon adds a little burst of saltiness and the broccoli adds a burst of freshness. Super yummy!