February 10, 2014

Bruschetta Quinoa Casserole

Bruschetta Quinoa Casserole
There’s something about bruschetta that makes my taste buds do a happy dance in my mouth.
I think it’s the combo of fresh tomatoes, basil, oregano, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cheese served on toasted bread rubbed with garlic that works the magic.
Bruschetta is garlicky, very garlicky. It’s actually loaded garlic, and has it must be so.
No garlic? No Bruschetta -> no party!
However this garlic thing has a drawback, and that is garlic breath.
That's why when serving bruschetta, everybody has to eat it; so there aren’t complaints later about it.
Needless to say it, this obligation applies in particular to couples. Because let's face it, garlic breath kissing is just gross.

Cherry tomatoes
All this rambling about bruschetta was necessary because I made a bruschetta quinoa casserole, and I needed to introduce it somehow.
Let's cut to the chase then; this casserole tastes like bruschetta, exit the bread, enters the quinoa.
The cast of characters includes: Quinoa (lead), garlic (co-lead),  tomatoes, onion, Parmesan, mozzarella (supporting characters), spices and herbs (walk-ins).
Bruschetta Quinoa Casserole
It's super easy to make but tastes like a million bucks. Warm, comforting, oozing and so delicious.
I know it looks like I used a ton of cheese, I really didn’t.
True, there’s mozzarella on top and Parmesan and mozzarella in the casserole. But hey, ooozing cheese? Are you kidding me?
Bruschetta Quinoa Casserole
The casserole is so delicious, you'd never guess how good it is for you.
Even though quinoa doesn’t make the paleo diet cut, it’s still “tolerated” and I love quinoa so much, I’m not ready to give it up (and as I’m typing this I can hear the Paleo police sirens outside my house!)
Bruschetta Quinoa Casserole                                                                               Print this recipe! 
Inspired by How Sweet It Is and Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients 
Serves 4

2 ½ cups cooked quinoa (you’ll need about 1 cup / 6 oz / 170 gr of uncooked quinoa) 
1 can (8 oz / 225 gr) tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, one minced and one halved 
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, divided
Ground black pepper to taste
Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Rub a 8x8 baking dish with the halved garlic pieces and coat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute’ for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add ½ teaspoon of salt and garlic and saute’ for one further minute, until everything is fragrant.
Stir in tomato sauce and heat to a gentle simmer, this takes just a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully take a taste, and adjust with seasoning. 
Stir in Parmesan cheese and set aside.
In a dry non-stick pan over medium-high heat, toast quinoa with red pepper flakes, oregano and a pinch of black pepper for 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine toasted quinoa, tomato sauce, half of the mozzarella, half of the cherry tomatoes, half of the basil leaves and ½ teaspoon of salt.
Transfer quinoa mixtures to the baking dish, top with remaining cherry tomatoes and mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes and then turn on the broiler and broil for 2 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
Remove from the oven, let sit for 5 minutes, sprinkle with remaining basil, lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar (if you’re using it) and serve.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 357 calories, 12 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs and 19 grams of protein.

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49 comments:

  1. I can't get enough of Italian flavors...it blows my mind how such simple ingredients can create some of the best dishes! Maybe the secret's in the garlic? :P Definitely trying this soon!

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    1. It's all about the garlic Jess, no doubt about it!

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  2. Looks amazing, I'm lost for words!

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  3. Yum! I LOVE bruschetta! I can't wait to start making my own mozzarella so that I have an excuse to eat it more often!

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    1. You make your own mozzarella? I'm really impressed Lex, that's huge!

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  4. Haha, I had to laugh at your segue into the recipe. I always find it hard to tie in some relevant, entertaiing story to every single recipe. The recipe, however, looks delicious, as always. I've had a visit or two from the paleo police as well, and I actually argued that quinoa was paleo since it's a grain?...oops!

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    1. My argument was rather that quinoa is a seed and not a grain and doesn't contain gluten-free, hence "paleo approved".
      But apparently it contains traces of saponins that may damage the intestines, and for this reason quinoa is not "paleo approved."

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  5. Wow, absolutely love this! I am a total bruschetta nut, it is basically my favorite combo ever and I always add the balsamic because lets be honest. Balsamic makes everything better! :) Pinned this and can't wait to eat! YUM

    Krista @ Joyful Healthy Eats

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  6. I'm with you on the bruschetta thing, there's just something about those garlic scented toasts. This looks mouthwatering!

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  7. That looks so good! Trying to figure out a way to make something similar without tomatoes. Thinking artichokes or eggplants. However, the sauce might be tricky.

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    1. Not using tomatoes might be a tad tricky Lauren...

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  8. My husband turned his nose up when I mentioned trying quinoa. This looks amazing and I'm sure this recipe would change his mind!

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    1. I'm sure your husband will fall in love with quinoa after trying this recipe. Trust.

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  9. Oh wow, I like the look of that!

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  10. 'Garlic Breath Kissing' would totally make a kick@ss name for a song.. but anybody going for it will have to pay the blog some big royalties now!

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    1. You think so? I'm not sure about it...garlic breath doesn't bring happy memories, at least to me! ;)

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  11. Love this Italian inspired Quinoa.
    Gorgeous colors, great combination of flavors and textures.
    Great advise about how to consume garlic with out loosing your parnter, thank you Mike :))

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    1. LOL Daniela, garlic is the best but hey not on your breath!

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  12. I love quinoa as well. What a great looking dish!

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  13. Mike - my daughter saw your pictures and between wiping the drool off her face, she said this would be one way I could get her to eat quinoa without whining! Thanks for sharing this one - garlic breath kissing andall! :)

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    1. This recipe is killer Shashi, probably one of the best way to enjoy quinoa!

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  14. Am I seeing this correctly?! NO EGGS?! What in the butt? LMFAO - yes, I definitely just said that! ;)

    And I am laughing really hard at Shashi's comment because for a second I thought she was saying that her daughter was looking at photos of you and drooling, LMFAO - but wait, maybe she is?

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    1. Hahahahaha Gigi :D (and yes, no eggs, believe or not!)

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    2. Bwhahahahaha - GiGi - now thats way too funny! I think Mike might be a tad too old for her!

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  15. Bruschetta in comforting casserole form?? Wow, man you're a genius! I need to try this for dinner as soon as possible. It looks so amazing that I don't think I'd mind the garlic breath after all haha ; )

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    1. I'm no genius...I just like me food to be tasty! ;)

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  16. Wow, so cool to turn quinoa into a bruschetta casserole!!! I've yet to join the whole quinoa bandwagon... just haven't gotten into it yet. You've convinced me that adding it as a base to a casserole just might be the way to go. I'm going to give it a shot!

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    1. You must get on the quinoa bandwagon. Although in my case I can't really talk about bandwagon, since I've been eating it for the past six years. It's so good, you should really get on board asap!

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  17. This looks so yummy!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

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  18. OK, it's official. You are the king of taking photos of anything that contains cheese and tomatoes. No one does it better than you, I swear. You have me drooling every.single.time.

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  19. I can't wait to make this! I have fresh mozzarella that I've been trying to figure out what to do with and now I know. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks Caitlin, lemme know how you like it!

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  20. Hope the Paleo Police don't get you :-). This looks so fantastically delicious!

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  21. Hi - this looks delicious. Do you think it would freeze well?

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  22. looks tasty!

    www.ind-alim.blogspot.com

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  23. I rarely comment on posts, but I just made this and have to say it was fabulous, even my 3 year old that claims he doesn't like quinoa was asking for more

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  24. This recipe is bangin'! Came out delicious. I did substitute romano cheese for the parmesan, though. A true taste sensation! Thanks!!!

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  25. I had a question about the recipe: it says 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa as well as a cup uncooked, does this mean 3 1/2 cups of quinoa (both cooked and uncooked) is toasted with the red pepper flakes?

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    1. You need 2 1/2 cups of COOKED quinoa (I just specified that to get that amount you'll need to cook one cup of quinoa.)

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  26. I made this Friday night and it was so good. The red pepper flakes give the recipe a kick and I didn't feel so guilty about going for seconds since I was eating a good portion of quinoa. I will make this recipe again and again.

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