I LOVE casseroles and all things Mexican-flavor-inspired. There are a few standard Mexican casseroles in my arsenal, but this is a new one. As someone who cooks vegetarian food, I am always on the look out for high protein, relatively healthy meals. Quinoa, as a complete protein, has become my new favorite ingredient!
This is a hearty dish. If you use it as a main dish, it will yield 4 servings (1/4 of the casserole dish, each). As a main dish, it packs a punch. With just about 400 calories per serving, it also comes with a full 18 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber, and only 14 grams of fat. Any sour cream, avocado, chips, etc. that you add obviously adds to those numbers.
You can play around with this recipe, adding jalapenos, olives, cilantro, or anything else that you like. If I had it in my fridge, I would have sauteed some corn and zucchini (or other summer squash) in the tomato sauce.
Serve the casserole on its own, with a green salad, or a light cabbage slaw!
Mexican-Inspired Quinoa Casserole
1 c. quinoa, dry
2 c. vegetable stock (or 2 c. water + one veggie bullion cube)
16 oz. can black beans
8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tbsp. of canned diced green chiles (mild is what I use)
1 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 small bell peppers, diced
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. chili powder (ancho would be tasty!)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
4 oz cheddar cheese, grated (1/2 a standard block of cheese – yields about 1 c. shredded)
3/4 c. green onions (greens and light green parts only)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil.
Cook your quinoa, boiling your broth. Quinoa is ready when the seeds have opened and show a little “tail” 🙂
While the quinoa is cooking, heat a skillet with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add the onions, garlic, and bell peppers, sauteing until tender. Add the tomato sauce, chiles, salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander. Simmer the tomato mixture until slightly thickened, or about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, black beans (drained), and tomato mixture. Add 1/2 c. of green onions and 1/4 c. of grated cheddar cheese (save the rest for later).
Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Top the casserole with the remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes. After taking the dish out of the oven, top it with the remaining 1/4 c. of green onions.
Serve with sour cream or guacamole. You can even serve with chips or tortillas!