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.
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).
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?
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!)
Print this recipe!
Inspired by How Sweet It Is
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 cherry 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)
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 mixture 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.
One serving yields 357 calories, 12 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs and 19 grams of protein.