An easy, healthy, vegetable filled quinoa casserole with all the flavors of lasagna… but healthier! Gluten free, vegetarian, high in fiber and complete plant protein.
I’ve been very in to quinoa lately. I’ve found myself incorporating it in to every meal I make- even breakfast. For a while I’ve been serving it with curries instead of rice mostly because I find it more filling for longer than rice but also because I don’t eat a lot of meat so I have to get my protein from plant sources of beans, lentils, grains, etc. and quinoa has a decent amount.
I wasn’t totally sure about adding it to breakfast since it does have a pretty distinct flavor, but I ended up really loving it when I incorporated in to a baked oatmeal recipe that’s coming this fall.
If I’m honest, the main reason it’s been my go-to apart from oats is that I had a big bag I was still working my way through and I didn’t feel like buying anything else to use instead. I like it, it’s super healthy and it meant not spending any extra money.
So we became a quinoa household for about 1.5 months.
I used the last of what we had on this veggie quinoa lasagna casserole (actually that’s a lie. I cooked too much quinoa for this and that’s why it made it’s way in to my baked oatmeal. Oops). This recipe wasn’t totally planned… it was more of a last minute-what’s-in-the-fridge casserole that I ended up remaking to be a proper recipe.
On the weekend there was random quinoa, 1/4 of a smoked turkey sausage, some veggies that had seen better days, leftover pizza sauce I had made for the previous week’s pizza lunches and a leftover turkey burger patty all sitting, neglected in my fridge. So I did what any frugal person does… I ‘casseroled’ it. I had some wilting basil that was okay enough to use and some mozzarella to shred and before I knew it, we had a pretty tasty dinner that resulted in no waste and no extra money spent.
So then a few days later, I re-created it, making it vegetarian friendly and calling it a veggie quinoa lasagna casserole so my mom could have half, made fresh, better sauce, and added in plenty of asiago and ricotta.
GUUYYYSSSS. This is so good. So satisfying, filling, healthy and just… ugh. Just so good. If Mark loves a vegetarian meal, you know it’s good. And he did.
You will too, I promise.
Naturally gluten free, high in protein, fiber, those fresh summer veggies we can’t get enough of and the most fragrant basil. Filled and topped with 3 cheeses because CHEESE. It’s a healthy food lover’s dream and a non-healthy food lover’s kind of meal.
Unless your non-healthy food lover really hates quinoa. Then you should prob use a grain they don’t hate. Or tell them to fend for themselves ’cause you’ve done enough. You barely had enough time to put on a nice sweater and grasp a hot mug of tea before going for a walk around the neighborhood.
I’ve been married to Mark too long. I know this by the fact that I now quote Family Guy lines.
God help me.
- 1 batch homemade marinara (link below) OR 28oz your favorite sauce
- ¾ C uncooked quinoa
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 pound sliced mushrooms (brown, white, baby portobello, whatever)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 300-450g whole milk ricotta
- 1 large egg
- ¾ C shredded asiago or parmesan
- 1 C loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
- 1 C shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Cook quinoa according to package directions, set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt.
- Cook, stirring every so often, until mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and zucchini along with the garlic powder and another pinch of salt. Continue to cook until the zucchini is soft but not soggy, about another 3-5 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In a small bowl, combine ricotta, egg, asiago, basil and salt and pepper to taste.
- In an 8x8 inch baking dish, spread some sauce, layer ⅓ of the quinoa, ½ of the vegetables and ½ of the ricotta mixture followed by more sauce. Repeat once more then top with one more layer of quinoa, sauce and the mozzarella.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with more basil and shredded asiago, if desired.
Make ahead: Make the sauce, cook the quinoa and saute the vegetables up to 2 days ahead of time to save time. OR make everything, layer it and store in the fridge for 2-3 days before baking. Up to you! When ready to eat, simply assemble and bake.
Casserole can be frozen, unbaked for up to 3 months. If you're going to freeze, do not top with mozzarella. Top with mozzarella when thawed and ready to bake.
This is the sauce I use for everything requiring marinara! So easy!