I made this caprese quinoa casserole the other night for dinner and snapped a few quick photos *just in case* it was good enough to share on the blog. And it was!
Like most recipes on the blog, it’s really simple and it’s easy enough that it doesn’t feel like too much of a hassle to cook for just a few people. A few nights ago, it was just my parents and me for dinner, although with my sister’s wedding on Sunday (!!) our house is getting much fuller. My sister and her fiancee are here, my grandparents are in town, and more relatives are on their way to Raleigh today. After months of planning and preparation, I can’t believe her wedding is almost here!
But back to the reason you’re here: this cheesy caprese quinoa casserole. There’s quinoa, a homemade tomato sauce (or substitute in your favorite pasta sauce), parmesan cheese, and spices, and for the caprese part, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and mozzarella. I added plain shredded chicken this time, but next time, I think I’ll leave the chicken out and instead, serve it alongside grilled chicken for a yummy side dish.
It’s a healthy and lighter Italian option, and as a girl who loves her pasta, I love adding more options to my repertoire of Italian recipes.
All you have to do is cook the quinoa (which takes about 15 minutes, tops), make the quick sauce, mix the quinoa and sauce together add a sprinkle of cheese, transfer the quinoa mixture into a baking dish, top with more cheese, and bake it in the oven. Then, dig in!
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes (or substitute 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, divided
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 roma tomato, diced, or 1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
To a medium saucepan, add quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium-low to simmer for 10-15 minutes until quinoa kernels have "popped." Transfer to another bowl.
In the same pan, add cooking oil and saute onion until soft. Add crushed tomatoes (or pasta sauce), balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of fresh basil. Simmer on medium-low for 10-15 minutes. Add quinoa to sauce, along with half of the mozzarella cheese.
Transfer into a greased 8x8 inch baking dish and top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and tomatoes.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, and then turn the broiler on for the last 60 seconds or so to just slightly toast the cheese.
Inspired by this recipe