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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Something hearty and healthy to start the year

Chances are all the over-indulging in food and drink during the holidays prompted a New Year’s resolution list that includes eating better. Some healthier choices are likelier in order just for change, at any rate.

Get a plateful of colour from this comforting casserole made with quinoa and vegetables. The melted cheese topping with its crispy edges makes it simply irresistible – and we don’t want to go cold turkey on the indulgences, right?

Leeks are a nice choice in this Quinoa and Veggie Casserole, but need to be thoroughly cleaned. Trim the roots and some of the dark green tops off. Cut in half lengthwise and wash well.

This recipe also lets you get ahead of the game: the night before, complete step one and the first part of step two, then refrigerate overnight.  Pop it in the oven for dinner the next day, increasing the bake time by 5 to 10 minutes from the 35 minutes it would be otherwise.

This casserole is versatile so you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. No broccoli? No worries. Use cauliflower instead. Swap peas for corn.

Quinoa and Veggie Casserole

  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 leek, white and light green part only, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tsp. Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1-3/4 cups sodium reduced vegetable broth
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 175 mL (3/4 cup) shredded light old Cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook leek, garlic, red pepper and Italian herb seasoning for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Stir in quinoa, broccoli and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Stir in corn and cook for 5 minutes.

Spoon mixture into small casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Bake in preheated 200°C (400°F) oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Makes 6 servings.

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