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!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

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Broccoli Pesto Pasta on a plate with fork and pine nuts and basil on counter. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Broccoli saved my sanity – don’t worry, I’ll explain.  So, today, I give thanks to the broccoli gods with this Broccoli Pesto Pasta!  It’s creamy, hearty, delicious AND good for you!  Woo hoo!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But rather a huge punch in the face of flavor, it’s a bit more mellow and healthier for you by adding broccoli!  The broccoli is simply blended with the other ingredients and helps to really sell this dish to my kids.  

Broccoli Pesto Pasta on a plate with fork in pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Broccoli Saved My Sanity

When my oldest daughter was a toddler, she started to become picky with foods and not so eager to try new things, especially veggies.  I would get frustrated, worried, panicked, scared, and yes, even crazy.  However, broccoli was the one veggie that she would eat.  And let me tell ya, I latched on to that broccoli for dear life.  Broccoli gave me new hope.  It gave me freedom, it gave me my sanity back. 🙂

Here are some more great broccoli recipes to try!

Broccoli Pesto Pasta on a plate with parmesan on top. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

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 food processor for the pesto. I used my go-to mini food processor which was the perfect size for sauces, dressings, and small amounts of pureed ingredients.

PREP-AHEAD TO MAKE YOUR BROCCOLI PESTO PASTA

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) 

For this recipe, you can do 3 levels of easy prep…

  • You can prep just the broccoli and garlic
  • You can make the pesto ahead
  • You can make the pasta and pesto ahead and just reheat when you want to eat

Let’s start with prepping the ingredients and waiting to make the pesto and pasta.  Rough Chop 3 cups of Broccoli into pieces about 1/2 inch in size. They will go into the food processor later, so it doesn’t matter what they look like, just that they are about the same size.  You can also buy broccoli rice that’s already prepped from the store to save time.

Steam the broccoli in 1/2 cup of water either on the stove or in the microwave. Steaming should only take about 5 minutes or so.

While the broccoli is steaming, rough chop the garlic.

MAKE YOUR BROCCOLI PESTO & COOK YOUR PASTA

Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once boiling, add a tsp of salt and the pasta. Mix the pasta in the water and bring back to a boil. Cook pasta for 5-8 minutes until al dente.

To a mini food processor, add the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, water, and olive oil. Pulse to blend. Then add the broccoli, salt, and pepper and pulse to blend again.

Basil, Pine nuts, garlic in mini food processor for Broccoli Pesto Pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Basil, Pine nuts, garlic blended in mini food processor for Broccoli Pesto Pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Broccoli added to Basil, Pine nuts, garlic blended in mini food processor for Broccoli Pesto Pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Once everything is fully blended, scoop out into a large bowl (large enough for pasta) and mix in the grated parmesan cheese.Parmesan Cheese added to pesto in a bowl for Broccoli Pesto Pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Broccoli Pesto in a bowl with spoon. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

When the pasta is finished cooking, scoop out with a strainer, saving the pasta water, and transfer to the pesto bowl. Add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then mix to combine the pasta and the pesto. You can add more pasta water if needed. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and/or parmesan cheese as needed/desired.

Broccoli Pesto Pasta in pot with spoon with pine nuts and basil on counter. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

ENJOY!

😍 Carrie

Broccoli Pesto Pasta on a plate with fork in pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner

Broccoli Pesto Pasta

Broccoli Pesto Pasta is delicious AND good for you! It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. But rather than a huge punch in the face of flavor, it's a bit more mellow - and healthier - for you with the addition of broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner #healthydinner #vegetarian #meatlessmeals #busymom

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword broccoli, pasta, pesto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 457 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Broccoli Florets and stems, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts
  • 1 cup Basil Leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
  • 16 oz Fusilli Pasta, dried

Instructions

Prep Ahead Instruction

  1. Rough Chop 3 cups of Broccoli into pieces about 1/2 inch in size. They will go into the food processor later, so it doesn't matter what they look like, just that they are about the same size.

  2. Steam the broccoli in 1/2 cup of water either on the stove or in the microwave. Steaming should only take about 5 minutes or so.

  3. While the broccoli is steaming, rough chop the garlic.

Make Your Pesto and Cook Pasta

  1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once boiling, add a tsp of salt and the pasta. Mix the pasta in the water and bring back to a boil. Cook pasta for 5-8 minutes until al dente.

  2. To a mini food processor, add the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, water, and olive oil. Pulse to blend. Then add the broccoli, salt, and pepper and pulse to blend again.

    Broccoli added to Basil, Pine nuts, garlic blended in mini food processor for Broccoli Pesto Pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner
  3. Once everything is fully blended, scoop out into a large bowl (large enough for pasta) and mix in the grated parmesan cheese.

    Parmesan Cheese added to pesto in a bowl for Broccoli Pesto Pasta. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner
  4. When the pasta is finished cooking, scoop out with a strainer, saving the pasta water, and transfer to the pesto bowl. Add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water and then mix to combine the pasta and the pesto. You can add more pasta water if needed. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and/or parmesan cheese as needed/desired.

    Broccoli Pesto Pasta in pot with spoon with pine nuts and basil on counter. It's delicious AND good for you!  It has all of the classic pesto flavors from garlic, basil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts.  But the flavor is a bit more mellow by adding broccoli! #broccolirecipes #pesto #pasta #easydinner #dinnerideas #familydinner