My obsession with quinoa continues (and I have about 2-3 quinoa recipes waiting to be posted - I told you. Obsessed). This time I used it to create a comforting, filling, and healthy casserole. Inspired by my pal Elly's baked chicken parmesan quinoa, I made a vegetarian version. I chose to use eggplant, mushrooms, onion, and tomatoes, but any veggies would work just swimmingly. Zucchini and squash in particular would be perfect in the summer months. I actually intended to add some chopped spinach as well, but forgot until I was putting the dish into the oven to bake. Oops!
This was a big big hit with everyone in the family. Smith has been going through bit of a picky stage lately - or rather, an "I love to throw all my food on the floor" stage. But he couldn't get enough of this. And another bonus? It made a huge amount and reheated wonderfully, thereby giving me lunch for almost a week. Score!
Baked Vegetable and Quinoa Parmesan
inspired by Elly Says Opa
- 1 1/2 lbs eggplant, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water or broth
- olive oil
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 Tbs chopped fresh basil, divided
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbs melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.
Toss the eggplant with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Arrange on a large, paper towel-lined plate. Microwave uncovered for 10 minutes, tossing halfway through. The eggplant should be starting to shrivel.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package directions, using 2 cups of water or broth.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the eggplant and onion, and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook an additional 5-8 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables have all softened and are starting to brown.
Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, then stir in the crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and stir in the cooked quinoa, 2/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese, and 2 tablespoons of the basil. Pour into the prepared pan.
In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella, the parmesan cheese, panko, and melted butter. Sprinkle over the top of the quinoa-veggie mixture.
Cover the dish with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the top is beginning to turn golden-brown. Sprinkle with additional basil and serve.