Print Recipe

Cheesy Quinoa and Sausage Broccoli Casserole

This broccoli casserole is made a bit healthier, with extra protein from the quinoa and chicken sausage... a complete, one pan meal, or versatile side dish!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Author: The Chunky Chef

Ingredients

QUINOA:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained

CASSEROLE:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 4 4 oz links chicken sausage (I used chicken and apple links) chopped
  • 6 cups fresh broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

CREAMY CHEDDAR SAUCE:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes

CRUNCHY TOPPING:

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions

COOK THE QUINOA:

  • Bring water and quinoa to a boil in saucepan.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 12 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat, let stand 5 minutes.

CASSEROLE:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • To a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and heat over MED heat.  Add chopped onion, carrot and chicken sausage and saute 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are softened and sausage is lightly browned.  Remove to a large mixing bowl, reserving the pan drippings in the skillet.
  • While onions, carrots and sausage are sauteing, add broccoli florets to a large microwaveable bowl with a splash of water.  Cover bowl with a plate and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes, to steam.  Drain broccoli and add to the large mixing bowl.
  • Add butter and garlic to pan drippings, melt.  Add flour and whisk until mixture is combined and no flour lumps remain.
  • Add milk and chicken stock, whisking to remove any lumps from the flour/butter mixture.  Bring to a high simmer and cook, whisking often for 2-4 minutes.  Mixture will thicken quite a bit.
  • Add thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, stirring to combine.  Add in 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, whisking to melt cheese into sauce.
  • Add cooked quinoa to large mixing bowl with other cooked ingredients.  Pour in cheese sauce and stir to combine well.
  • Spray a 3 qt. casserole dish (13x9") with non-stick cooking spray and transfer 1/2 the mixture to dish.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, the top with remaining half of mixture.  
  • Toss panko breadcrumbs with remaining 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle over top of casserole.  Top with 2/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly.

Notes

  1. Recipe adapted from Cooking Light magazine.
FREEZING INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Cool UNbaked casserole completely, then cover tightly with foil.
  2. Freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  4. Bake, covered, at 375 degrees F, for 25 minutes.
  5. Broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbly.