If you are turning into a regular viewer of this blog, you will soon learn that I am a BIG fan of casseroles and one-dish meals. I usually cook for myself, and leftovers are my friend. Casseroles are easy to assemble and easy to portion out for future lunches. Furthermore, there’s something very comforting and cozy about a nice, hot casserole.
I’m also a big fan of Pinterest, as most home cooks are! However, I’ve noticed that so many recipes use canned condensed soups as a binder and base for their casseroles. I do not like the high sodium and artificial ingredients found in condensed soups, so I developed my own recipe to use in casseroles from now on! The recipe can be adapted for any veggie base – celery, mushroom, onion – but I chose to make cream of celery today, as I received celery in my CSA delivery on Tuesday.
The casserole itself makes a very good main vegetarian dish. If you look at the ingredients you’ll notice lots of veggies and a lot of protein. That’s why I love quinoa. That little seed packs some major punch! Add in the milk from the cream of celery and the cheddar cheese, you have a nice kick of protein. You can also serve this dish as a side, adjusting your portion size accordingly.
Homemade Cream of Celery Soup
Recipe yields 1 1/2 c. (or the same as a can)
4 tbsp. butter
1/4 c. finely chopped onions
1 c. finely chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tbsp. flour
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. vegetable stock
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Over low to medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onions, celery, and garlic and saute until tender. Whisk in the flour, created in a roux. Don’t worry if it’s a thick paste…that’s what the milk and stock are for!
Add the milk, stock, salt, and pepper. Whisk the mixture to ensure all flour is incorporated. Bring the heat to medium, stirring. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat
Creamy Green Bean, Broccoli, and Quinoa Casserole
Recipe designed for 9″ x 9″ baking pan. Double for a 13″ x 9″ pan.
1 1/2 c. cream of celery soup
1/2 lbs. green beans, cut into 1″ pieces
2 c. broccoli, chopped, including some stems
2 c. cooked quinoa
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
I made the celery soup and quinoa simultaneously. Hint: use vegetable stock to make your quinoa and it will be extra tasty!
Blanch the vegetables by immersing them in boiling water for about 4 – 5 minutes, until just tender. Immediately drain. Combined the blanched veggies, celery soup, quinoa, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Mixed until combined. Taste a bit and add salt and/or pepper as needed.
Pour the mixture into a Pyrex baking pan. Sprinkle the top with panko bread crumbs – they add a great texture element.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through, the cheese is melted, and the panko is golden brown.