Simple Weeknight Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake

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Spoon scooping Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake with potato chips on top. It's a comfy cozy casserole that's perfect to make ahead for a simple weeknight side or main dish.

I love casseroles.  And one of my favorite combos is broccoli and cheese.  Usually, it’s made with rice, but today I have a healthier version that’s made with Quinoa!  Get ready for a comfy and cozy Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake that’s a simple side or main dish any weeknight!

This recipe comes together easily and gives the most amazing flavor.  The quinoa is hearty, creamy, and flavorful, but also super healthy, loaded with fiber and protein! The broccoli brings color, vitamins, and texture. The cheese, well, it’s creamy and delicious! You can make this casserole entirely ahead and reheat any busy night! It’s a balanced meal on it’s own, but you can add chicken, meatballs, or any other easy meat that your family loves.

Quinoa!  

Quinoa is a great side on it’s own or ingredient to bulk up other foods, such as stuffings.  It can replace pasta or rice in most recipes and adds more protein and fiber.

It’s actually a seed, not a grain, but the texture is similar to a grain or even a couscous, but a little more fluffy.  It has a mild, slightly nutty taste, but it’s mild, so it really absorbs any flavors you mix with it. 

But the really magic of quinoa is in the health benefits!  1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8g of complete protein and 5g of fiber.  It also has Iron, Manganese, Lysine, and magnesium!  

Combining quinoa with veggies gives you a complete balanced meal with vitamins, fiber, protein, and other nutrients.

Try these other easy and delicious Quinoa Recipes!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

For this recipe, you need a medium pot with fitted lid for the quinoa, a medium pot for the sauce, and a large (5-6 quart) casserole dish.

Oh, and mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR YOUR BROCCOLI CHEESE QUINOA BAKE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

This recipe starts with pre-cooking your quinoa.  I do this because it makes the baking part foolproof!  You will never have to worry if the quinoa is cooked fully in the oven because it was pretty much there when you added it.  One of the benefits of quinoa is that it can absorb a lot and maintains it’s integrity. 

Cooked quinoa in pot.

While the quinoa cooks, you can prep the rest of the ingredients…cut off the broccoli florets (if not already done) and mince the garlic.

Ok, and here comes the somewhat strange ingredients.  By the way, this is totally optional, but adds really fun delicious flavor.  

POTATO CHIPS!!  

My Mom used to put crushed potato chips on top of casseroles and I just felt the urge to add it to this one.  So, just toss some chips in a baggie and crush away to get them to small pieces.  Or, leave them out if you want.  They are not needed, so it’s your choice.

COOK YOUR BROCCOLI CHEESE QUINOA BAKE 

Cooking for this recipe starts on the stove and then moves to the oven.  

On the stove, in a medium to large pot, add the vegetable broth and minced garlic. Bring to a simmer on Medium-High heat. While it is heating, make your slurry by mixing the cornstarch into cold milk.  When the broth is simmering, whisk in the milk slurry.  Continue to whisk as it starts to thicken so no clumps form on the bottom.

Garlic and Broth in pot for Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake It's a comfy cozy casserole that's perfect to make ahead for a simple weeknight side or main dish.  Cornstarch and Milk slurry in measuring cup for Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake It's a comfy cozy casserole that's perfect to make ahead for a simple weeknight side or main dish.

Pouring milk slurry into pot for Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake It's a comfy cozy casserole that's perfect to make ahead for a simple weeknight side or main dish.

Once thickened, whisk in the shredded cheese. Stir until melted and smooth. Then turn off the heat. 

To a casserole dish, Add the broccoli florets, cooked quinoa, cheese sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine. Place in the preheated oven on center rack and bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, add the crushed potato chips to the top of the casserole and place back in the oven for the final 5 minutes. The remove and let rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake in a bowl with potato chips on top. It's a comfy cozy casserole that's perfect to make ahead for a simple weeknight side or main dish.

Simple Weeknight Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake

This Broccoli Cheese Quinoa Bake is a comfy cozy casserole that's perfect to make ahead for a simple weeknight side or main dish. The quinoa is hearty, creamy, and flavorful, but also super healthy, loaded with fiber and protein! The broccoli brings color, vitamins, and texture. The cheese, well, it's creamy and delicious! You can make this casserole entirely ahead and reheat any busy night! It's a balanced meal on it's own, but you can add chicken, meatballs, or any other easy meat that your family loves. #casseroles #broccolirecipes #vegetarian #meatlessmeals #broccolicheesebake

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword broccoli, casserole, cheese, quinoa
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Quinoa, uncooked
  • 4 cups Broccoli florets
  • 2 cups Shredded Cheddar
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 4 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano, dried
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Optional Topping: Crushed potato chips

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Pre-Cook Quinoa. Start by rinsing the quinoa thoroughly in a strainer, then adding it to 4 cups water in a medium pot with a fitted lid. Bring the water to a simmer, then turn it down to the lowest setting and cover tightly. Cook on lowest heat covered for 15 minutes. While the quinoa cooks, continue to prep.

  2. Cut off the broccoli florets if not already done for you. Mince the garlic. Place potato chips in a baggie and lightly crush to break them up into small pieces.

Cook

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.

  2. To a Medium-Large pot, add the vegetable broth and minced garlic. Bring to a simmer on Medium-High heat. While it is heating, make your slurry by mixing the cornstarch into cold milk.

  3. When the broth is simmering, whisk in the milk slurry. Continue to whisk as it starts to thicken so no clumps form on the bottom.

  4. Once thickened, whisk in the shredded cheese. Stir until melted and smooth. Then turn off the heat.

  5. To a 10" x 10" or similar size casserole dish, Add the broccoli florets, cooked quinoa, cheese sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to completely combine. Place in the preheated oven on center rack and bake for 15 minutes.

  6. After 15 minutes, add the crushed potato chips to the top of the casserole and place back in the oven for the final 5 minutes. The remove and let rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!

Light & Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

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Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto on a plate with fork scooping pasta.  It's a creamy but lighter recipe without the heavy cream or butter, but still delicious!

This is the dinner that dreams are made of.  Creamy and cheesy Fettuccine Alfredo with a hint of nuttiness and a delicious garlic backdrop.  Then it’s topped with salty Prosciutto ribbons that blend perfectly with the pasta.  The cool Prosciutto and the hot pasta is a perfect combination.  BUT, my friends, this is a HEALTHIER and LIGHTER version!  My Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto is beyond belief!  It’s a quick dinner that the whole family will love. 

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto on a plate with fork scooping pasta. It's a creamy but lighter recipe without the heavy cream or butter, but still delicious!

LIGHTER CAN BE AMAZING TASTING!

One of my favorite tricks with many recipes to get a creamy texture without the flour, butter, or heavy cream, is to use a cornstarch slurry.  Cornstarch is used in many Asian recipes to thicken sauces without changing the color the way a flour roux does.  Once it dissolves and cooks into the sauce, it is completely flavorless, leaving only the flavors from the sauce.

In this recipe, using cornstarch and 1% milk to replace the heavy cream, flour, and butter that is typically in Fettuccine Alfredo saves you 95 calories and 13.4g Fat (8.3g Saturated Fat)!   It also saves you 45mg cholesterol and gives you more calcium, vitamin d, and potassium by using milk vs. cream.

How to use cornstarch

It’s super easy to use because you don’t need to cook it prior to mixing it in the sauce.  Instead, you mix the cornstarch into a cold liquid to dissolve it and then add it to the sauce.  So if you want a clear sauce, mix it into water.  If you want a creamy sauce, mix it into milk (skim, 1-2%, or whole).  You can also mix it into heavy cream, coconut milk, cooled broth, or really any cold liquid.  Then whisk it into the hot sauce and continue to stir as it thickened.  It’s that simple!  And it gives the same creamy texture!  Here are some other recipes where I’ve used this technique!

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto on a plate with fork scooping pasta. It's a creamy but lighter recipe without the heavy cream or butter, but still delicious!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

You need a large pot to cook the pasta in and then you can either use the same pot for the sauce or use a separate large skillet/frying pan for making Alfredo sauce and mixing in the pasta. I use my absolute favorite 12″ Ceramic Pan, which is great because food really does slide right off with minimal oil and I don’t have to worry about food sticking and burning.  It comes with a glass lid, which is perfect for watching your dinner cook!

Oh, and mincing garlic is made super easy with a Garlic Press.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR EASY FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details)

The truth is, this recipe is so incredibly easy, there really isn’t even much to prep ahead!  If you are really pressed for time; however, you could mince the garlic and slice the prosciutto into ribbons, as well as chop the parsley. 

Can I replace Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is sliced so thin, which makes it such a delicate addition to this where a little goes a long way.  If you either don’t like prosciutto or cannot find it, you could replace it with a thin-sliced roasted or smoked deli ham.  You could use bacon, but it will really change the flavor profile of this dish to more of a bacon flavor, which is great, just very different.  You also need to cook the bacon in the pan before making the sauce or cook it separately and then crumbling it over top.  

COOK YOUR EASY FETTUCCINE ALFREDO

In a large pot, boil the pasta until al dente. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.

While the pasta is cooking, make the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the cold milk.

Cornstarch and Milk slurry in cup for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Using the same pot that you used for the pasta, add the tsp of olive oil and the minced garlic. Stir and cook for just 1-2 minutes. Careful not to let it brown.  Add the reserved 1 cup of pasta water plus 1 bouillon cube or chicken/vegetable base. Heat to simmer and dissolve the bouillon. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue to whisk while it heats through and starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes).

Pouring milk into pan with whisk Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Whisking sauce in pan for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto
Add salt and pepper and the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and then mix in the parmesan cheese and Parsley. Finally, right before serving, add the Prosciutto slices on top.Adding cooked pasta to sauce in pan for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Adding prosciutto to pasta alfredo in pan for Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

Garnish with Parmesan and Parsley. Serve and enjoy!

What Veggie Side should go with this?

I would go with simple Roasted Carrots, Roasted Tomatoes, or a Mesclun Salad.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto

My Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto is so creamy with a hint of nuttiness from the parmesan and a delicious garlic backdrop.  Topped with salty Prosciutto ribbons that blend perfectly with the pasta.  The cool Prosciutto and the hot pasta is a perfect combination.  BUT, my friends, this is a LIGHTER version without the heavy cream or butter!  It's a quick dinner that the whole family will love. #pastarecipes #familydinner #easydinners #lightdinners #familydinnerideas #fettuccinealfredo

Course Main Course, pasta
Cuisine Italian
Keyword alfredo, cream sauce, fettuccine, pasta, pasta sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 364 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 10 oz Fettuccine pasta
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup water (reserved from pasta water after it cooks!)
  • 1 cup 1% milk (you can also use skim, 2%, or whole)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Chicken bouillon cube or 1 tsp chicken base
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 4-6 oz Prosciutto
  • Optional Garnish: extra Parmesan and extra parsley

Instructions

  1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir so that it all is immersed in the water and doesn't stick it itself. Boil the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, slice the prosciutto, mince the garlic and chop the parsley. Also make the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the cold milk.
  3. Using the same pot that you used for the pasta, add the tsp of olive oil and the minced garlic. Stir and cook for just 1-2 minutes. Careful not to let it brown.
  4. Add the reserved 1 cup of pasta water plus 1 bouillon cube or chicken/vegetable base. Heat to simmer and dissolve the bouillon. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and continue to whisk while it heats through and starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes).
    Pouring milk into pan with whisk Light and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Prosciutto
  5. Add salt and pepper plus the pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and then mix in the parmesan cheese and Parsley. Finally, right before serving, add the Prosciutto slices on top. Garnish with Parmesan and Parsley. Serve and enjoy!