Italian Quinoa Casserole is a comforting vegetarian casserole that’s full of protein and vegetables!
Crispy, cheesy quinoa might be my best friend.
This quinoa casserole is based on my wildly popular Crispy Quinoa Bake. It’s just as crispy and even more comforting with its warm Italian flavors. There are tons of hearty vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, and red bell pepper, not to mention my favorite vegetable – CHEESE.
I originally shared this recipe about four years ago, but wanted to update it with fresh photos and video for you! The video will show you just how easy this is to throw together, especially if you have leftover quinoa sitting around.
This Italian Quinoa Casserole can be easily customized! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- You can alter the amount of quinoa to be more or less depending on what you have on hand
- Use whatever veggies you have on hand such as cooked broccoli or frozen spinach
- Swap spices and veggies to create totally different flavors, like in my Crispy Quinoa Bake
- Leave out the cheese to make it vegan
- Assemble the whole thing ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze, adding a few extra minutes of cook time if cooking it cold
- Spread thin on a rimmed baking sheet instead of using a 9×13 pan for extra crispy quinoa
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Crispy quinoa and cheese with tons of healthy, hearty veggies!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- Olive oil
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
- Coarse kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini, cubed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes drained
- 15 ounces canned great northern beans rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 cups Italian cheese blend
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to broil on high and place an oven rack in the highest position. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Arrange eggplant in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil in the oven until soft and beginning to brown, stirring once or twice, about 5-10 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as oven temperatures may vary, you don't want them to burn. After removing the eggplant, lower the rack to the middle position and turn the oven to bake at 375ºF.
Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse throughly with cool water for at least two minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about one minute. The quinoa should begin to dry out and pop a bit. Add the vegetable stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and peppers and cook, stirring occasionally until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and zucchini and cook 3 more minutes.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and place it in a large bowl. Add onion mixture, eggplant, tomatoes, beans, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper, 1 cup of Italian cheese blend, and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly and transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake 30 minutes, top with remaining cheese, and bake 10 minutes more or until melted and just beginning to brown.
Adapted from my Crispy Quinoa Bake