I have really good news: I’m leaving for 2 weeks to Tokyo in a few days for a very very late honeymoon. Years later, guess we’re both super procrastinators, match made in heaven.
So is this. (Like that segueway? Yeah you do.) Quinoa and a creamy béchamel sauce — aka macaroni and cheese without the macaroni — is one of my go-to dishes when I want to make something that’s delicious, lighter than its traditional version, and kinda-surprising but not scary. I mean, what’s not to love: it’s cheese sauce with quinoa. Twice cooked. That’s… that’s just nice.
The nutmeg in this really makes the dish to me: it adds a super comfort food sweetness that is hard to replace with other spices. Of course real cheese does taste more “accurate” (and for those who love cheese, you get me when I say “better”) but it’s actually really good with a vegan cheese substitute if that’s your style, because the quinoa itself is already so moist this dish is naturally just gooey. And crispy on top. Oh my I just got hungry again.
Enjoy this dish outside with friends and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier. It’s great for potluck type dishes because you can double or triple the recipe and have a huge pan of it for about the same amount of work! I love casseroles. Particularly casseroles with wine and good company.
quinoa ‘n cheese
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||35 minutes|
|Total time||45 minutes|
|Dietary||Corn Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Soy Free, Vegetarian|
|Meal type||Appetizer, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack|
|Misc||Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot|
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- a large pinch sea salt
- 2 cups milk of choice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional, but highly recommended)
- 1 cup grated/finely diced gruyere swiss or cheddar*
- 1 cup fresh goat's cheese or softer cheese of choice*
- 5 cups cooked quinoa
*for vegan, use vegan milk of choice and replace cheeses with vegan cheeses of choice. Same amount for both.
|Step 1||Make your cheese sauce by starting with your roux: heat olive oil in the bottom of a saucepan over medium heat and whisk in flour when it's warm. Keep whisking to avoid clumps and cook for about 30 seconds to make sure the flour is more digestible and that your sauce will get thick. Once it's bubbling slightly, add milk and nutmeg and whisk immediately to ensure sauce gets thick. Add a pinch sea salt. Then add in cheese after the mixture has bubbled a bit and whisk until melted. Taste for salt (you want it to taste perfectly scrumptious before adding it to your quinoa, the quinoa won't add flavor so make this delicious and all the flavor).|
|Step 2||Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or 180 degrees Celcius.|
|Step 3||In large bowl, pour cheese sauce over cooked quinoa and mix until evenly coated. Spoon into a casserole dish and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is cooked through and the top has browned.|
|Step 4||Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before serving. You can prepare this a few days in advance and just reheat for 20 minutes in the oven at 375 degrees F if you prefer!|