A while back, I made an Enchilada Quinoa Casserole and it was so yummy that I went and found other variations on Quinoa casseroles. I have always been a huge fan of spinach and artichoke so, when I found this recipe over at Two Peas and Their Pod, I was super excited. Like, more excited than normal people when they see spinach and artichoke. It was actually a little embarrassing. But anyways, I ran right out to the grocery store for the supplies and I whipped up a batch of this amazing casserole. I love that this can be a side dish or your main entree. Plus, the leftovers taste awesome so I ended up taking this for lunch at school as well!
Now that it is 2015, people are going to go crazy of their new year resolutions. This recipe can help you out with that as well! The only ingredient that isn't so healthy is the cheese. So, use a light cheese and use less if you are looking to lighten this up a bit. However, cheese is awesome so for all you people out there who have already given up on your resolutions, add all the cheese you want! I am planning to do a "quick" 9 mile run today, so I am going to put in as much cheese as my little heart desires! Also, if you are gluten free, sub out the flour for gluten free flour and you have a totally gluten free, vegetarian, healthy meal!
Spinach and Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
1 1/2 cups quinoa
4 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
9 oz baby spinach
2 cups artichoke hearts, chopped (canned are fine)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour (whole wheat or gluten free is fine)
1 1/2 cups skim milk
3 oz light cream cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded, light mozzarella cheese
red pepper flakes
1/2 cup light feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
optional: parmesan cheese for topping
1. Combine the water and quinoa is a medium pot. Heat over high until the water boils, lower heat to low-medium and let simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Water should be absorbed. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat.
2. In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium and add in garlic and onion. Cook until onion starts to become translucent. Add in the spinach and artichokes and cook until the spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, whisk the butter with the flour until you have a paste. Turn heat up and whisk in the milk until it starts to boil. Whisk in the cream cheese and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Stir until smooth.
4. Heat oven to 350 and spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray.
5. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, spinach and artichoke mixture, and cheese mixture. Stir in the rest of the mozzarella and the feta cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
6. Spread quinoa mixture into your baking dish. If you are using parmesan, sprinkle it over the top. Place in oven and cook for about 30 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and parmesan starts to brown.