When this dish emerges from the oven, the first thing you notice is how gloriously cheesy it is, with an alluring, golden-brown crust of nutty, funky gruyere.
Scoop into it and you get to the tender quinoa studded with pieces of autumnal roasted vegetables, all moistened and married in a light, creamy cheese sauce. It’s a French-style gratin, in essence, but with an unconventional, more healthful twist centered on the Peruvian staple “grain.” That word is in quotes because while quinoa cooks up like a grain, it is technically a seed, with more protein, fiber and minerals than most grains.
And while the cheesy richness of this bake calls like a siren, that’s because half of the cheese is strategically sprinkled on top, where it gets the most attention. Overall, it has a modest amount, as gratins go, and its sauce is more healthfully milk-based instead of relying on cream.
I like to use deep-hued red quinoa here, simply because I like how it looks, but the regular light brown type works all the same. And you can use any mix of roasted vegetables in this dish, too, making it especially handy post-Thanksgiving when you probably have some to use up.
This bake is right at home served alongside roasted poultry or meat, but it is so satisfying it also hits the spot in a larger portion as a meatless main dish.
Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Bake With Gruyere
Active time: 20 minutes | Total time: 55 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
This bake is a French-style gratin in essence, but with an unconventional, more healthful twist centered on nutrient-rich quinoa and featuring a mix of roasted vegetables. While its alluring, golden-brown gruyere topping calls like a siren, overall, it has a modest amount of cheese, and its sauce is made with milk, not cream, so it’s lighter. The deep hue of red quinoa is especially appealing, but the regular light brown variety works all the same, and any mix of roasted vegetables may be used, making it a unique and sumptuous way to use up leftovers.
Storage Notes: Leftovers may be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Olive oil, for greasing the dish
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 1/4 cups (4 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups cooked quinoa, preferably red (from about 3/4 cup/4 1/2 ounces uncooked)
- 3 cups roasted mixed vegetables (such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, squash), coarsely chopped
- Position a baking rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Brush a 1 1/2- to 2-quart shallow baking dish with oil.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the milk and flour until the flour is dissolved. Add the garlic, mustard and paprika and, whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring a few times, until the mixture has thickened to the thickness of cream, about 2 minutes. Add half of the cheese, the salt and pepper, and stir until the cheese is melted and the mixture is smooth, then remove from the heat. Add the quinoa and vegetables to the pot and stir until combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly and the cheese on top is nicely browned. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Nutrition (based on 6 servings) | Calories: 298; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 25 mg; Sodium: 296 mg; Carbohydrates: 34 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugar: 3 g; Protein: 15 g.
Recipe from dietitian and food columnist Ellie Krieger.