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!

Easiest 5-Ingredient Green Rice Recipe

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Green Rice on platter with chicken kabobs on top.  This Recipe takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients.  Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

This Green Rice Recipe takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.  Basil gives it fresh herb flavor, chives bring a slight onion flavor, and spinach rounds it all out with beautiful green color and so many healthy vitamins.  In just a few minutes you can turn your white rice into this fantastic Green Rice Recipe!

Close Up of green rice in pot. This Green Rice Recipe takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

FROM PLAIN TO SUPER RICE! 

While white rice is a great backdrop for sauces and big flavors, it really has very little in the way of nutritional value.  By adding basil, chives, and spinach to it, you are infusing it with flavor, vitamins, and nutrients!!  With the addition of the small amounts of basil and chive, their role here is really to bring the flavor.  But the Spinach is what brings the nutrition to the party!

White rice has very little fiber, but spinach is high in fiber, which makes it a great addition!  While white rice does have Vitamin A, it is lacking on most other vitamins, including the all important Vitamins C which is an antioxidant that promotes skin health and immune function.  And while white rice has 0% calcium, guess what is a great source of calcium?  Yep, spinach!  Check out all of the benefits that spinach brings to the mix.

This rice would go great with any of these main proteins!

Basil, chives, spinach, and sour cream blended in a bowl for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

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 either a food processor or blender will work. My go-to mini food processor was perfect for the job.

EASY STEPS TO MAKE YOUR GREEN RICE

You can make this Green Rice up to 5 days in advance and reheat heat it.  There really are only 3 easy steps to this.  

1.Make your rice.

2.Add the basil, chives, sour cream and spinach to the blender or food processor and blend.

Basil and chives in food processor for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

Basil, chives, and sour cream in food processor for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

Basil, chives, and spinach in food processor for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

Basil, chives, spinach, and sour cream blended in food processor for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

3.Mix the sauce into the rice.

Basil, chives, spinach, and sour cream blended and added on top of cooked white rice in pot for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

What other herbs could I use?

In place of the basil, you could go with cilantro or dill.  I wouldn’t combine all three together, but select one as your primary flavor.  

If you don’t have chives, you could use 1-2 scallions or skip it all together, but I really like a slight onion flavor in this.  

You could also add parsley.  If you want to add kale, you may want to saute if first to soften it a bit as it has a heartier texture and won’t get as creamy from the raw state as spinach. 

Will other grains work with this?

Of course!  Instead of white rice, you could use brown rice, quinoa, farro, couscous, or even a small pasta, like orzo. 

Can this Green Rice be frozen?

You can make this recipe and freeze it for up to 6 months.  To freeze it, you will want to cool it in the fridge first.  Then you can place it in a large storage bag and flatten it to freeze it.  Or you can spread it out on a sheet pan and freeze it, then transfer it to a container.  You can freeze it in a freezer-safe bowl, but it can take a long time defrost when it’s in a large clump.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Green Rice in pot. This Green Rice Recipe takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.

5-Ingredient Easy Green Rice

This Green Rice Recipe takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.  Basil gives it fresh herb flavor, chives bring a slight onion flavor, and spinach rounds it all out with beautiful green color and so many healthy vitamins.  In just a few minutes you can turn your white rice into this fantastic Green Rice Recipe! #ricerecipes #sidedishes #healthysides #greenrice

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword 30 Minute Meal, healthy recipes, meal prep, rice, Side Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 67 kcal
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 20 Basil Leaves
  • 10 Chive Sprigs
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream or Yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

  1. Make the rice according to package instructions. Or…to a small-medium pot with a lid, add 4 cups water, 1/2 tsp salt, and rice. Bring water to boil, stir, turn heat down to lowest setting, cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, but leave covered until ready to serve.

  2. Add the basil, chives, and sour cream to the blender or food processor. I add the spinach leaves last just so the sour cream is near the bottom and can help it blend. Pulse to start and then blend until smooth and creamy.

    Basil, chives, spinach, and sour cream blended in food processor for Green Rice Recipe. It takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.
  3. Mix the sauce into the rice. Enjoy!

    Green Rice in pot. This Green Rice Recipe takes white rice from plain to amazing with just 5 ingredients. Filled with herbs and spinach, it has the perfect herby flavor.