Monday, January 17, 2011

Supreme Pizza Quinoa Casserole

Thank you so much to everyone for your sweet comments on my last post. I will probably keep the pregnancy details to a minimum on here, it is a food blog after all! 

I am so happy to be cooking again, and have wholesome meals. When I saw this recipe on Peas and Thank You last week, I knew I'd have to make it soon. While I love pizza, it's not always the healthiest option. Plus, vegetarian protein is hard to come by on a pizza! 

This recipe is originally written vegan, but I made a few changes. First, I used cottage cheese in place of a raw  cashew puree, but you can also use ricotta or cream cheese. I prefer cottage cheese because it's full of protein and low in fat and calories. My favorite brand is Organic Valley's 2% Small Curd. Next, I sprinkled the top of this bake with a tiny amount of parmesan and mozzarella, to really make it seem like a baked pasta dish. 

The last change I made was to saute' vegetables separately, then mix them with the quinoa mixture before baking rather than top the bowls with topping like Mama Pea did. I used my favorite pizza toppings - peppers, mushrooms, onions and sun dried tomatoes. 

This dish is extremely versatile, and can be made for 2 to twenty with some simple adjustments with ingredient amounts. I made a large casserole, serving 4-6. This is a great make ahead meal that you can prep on the weekend for weeknight dinner, or something you can make a big batch of and eat over several days. You can also take it back to vegan or add pepperoni, sausage, ham or other non-vegetarian pizza toppings! And best of all, this dish was extremely cheap to make, the only splurge was buying organic cheeses, but they were on sale plus I had coupons at Whole Foods, so the entire casserole was around $10 (with lots of leftover cheese). 

Supreme Pizza Quinoa Casserole
adapted from a vegan version on Peas and Thank You

3 c. vegetable stock
1 1/2 c. quinoa
8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 c. 2% Small Curd Organic Cottage Cheese
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 c. grated parmesan, divided
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
10 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 350*
Bring stock to a boil in a pot.
Rinse quinoa under running water for a minute, until no longer murky. 
Add quinoa to vegetable stock, stirr and turn to simmer. 
Cook for 15-18 minutes, until stock is absorbed, stirring every few minutes.
Heat a saute' pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil.
Add mushrooms, peppers, onion and garlic, stir and saute' for 10 minutes, until liquid is cooked out and vegetables begin to caramelize. 
Remove from heat.
When quinoa is cooked, add tomato sauce, cottage cheese, half of the mozzarella and parmesan, basil, oregano, fennel, crushed red pepper flakes, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir well, add vegetables from pan and sun-dried tomatoes, stir well.
Pour into a casserole dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Place in the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, until cheesei s golden and casserole is bubbly.
Serve immediately, refrigerate leftovers for a few days, if it lasts that long! 


Melissa said...

I love this idea! It's like lasagna with quinoa, so smart. I've been eating more quinoa than pasta lately without even realizing it, I think I have to make this!

Dawn said...

What an awesome idea! I just got Gabby a bunch of quinoa pasta and she is still getting used to the texture but I think it is good. I bet it would be interesting in this recipe!

Joanne said...

Mmm love this. I adore pizza but rarely eat it unless i make it myself. But I OFTEN crave it. So this would be the perfect solution!

Tasha said...

I know they get a bad rap, but I love casseroles. And one with all the flavors of pizza, and made with quinoa and cottage cheese- sounds like it would be a huge hit in my house.

Tammi Kibler @keenonquinoa said...

This looks very good, I have been thinking of doing something Italian with quinoa.

Also, when I look at the photos I think one could also tweak this recipe with refried beans instead of cottage cheese and add Mexican seasonings for a south of the border casserole.