Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Veggie Quinoa Casserole (vegan)

Summer is the great time of year to make simple foods with the best fresh ingredients around (from the garden of course). I do not have any tomatoes in the backyard yet, but I did use all of my own garden's kale and fresh herbs. Later this summer I am hoping to have much larger vegetable bounty to create and make fresh meals from your backyard every night. So excited!
Yet, this meal is super simple, and can be made as a cold dish as well, but since I was kinda thinking a bake and crispy breaded topping would be nice and special... I made this into a casserole. I know... crazy, right?! I don't think I have made a "casserole-type" dish in years. Nothing against it all, but I just don't usually think that way. And, because of growing up in canned creamed soup casseroles, I think I try to block them out of my memory and creative wave length. So, this dish is simple, fresh and with some added roasted asparagus, you have the perfect early-summer meal.
Summer Veggie Quinoa Casserole Recipe (vegan)
3 cups of pre-cooked quinoa (about 1 1/2 cup dry, cooked with 3 cups water)
2 roma-tomatoes, washed and diced (about 3/4 cup or so)
1 cup (or more) of washed and finely chopped kale, I used a combo of curly and lactino
3-4 garlic-scapes finely chopped (or 3 minced garlic cloves instead)
1/2 cup of washed and chopped basil
1/4 cup of washed and chopped parsley
a handful of chopped oregano
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar (or use lemon juice as a sub here if avoiding vinegars)
4 TB of extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the above ingredients in a mixing bowl, and season with a little sea salt and pepper. Then pour into a glass Pyrex dish (9inch round or square) and get ready to top with breaded topping...

1 cup of crumbled favorite GF bread or bread crumbs
3 TB of olive oil
1-2 ts of garlic powder

Mix all of the above in a small bowl and then sprinkle over the Pyrex dish, then...

Lastly, add an optional sprinkle-topping of daiya moz cheeze ( my favorite, vegan-soy-free cheeze), or other favorite dairy cheese if you can do dairy. I think Parmesan or Romano would be good.

Then bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, and then in the last 2-3 minutes broil the top to get some crispy crunchy bread-topping, but make sure not to burn.
Spoon up and serve! I served my dish with some roasted local asparagus. My absolute favorite way to eat asparagus is the basic toss of raw asparagus in olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, and then place on a baking sheet under a broiling-oven to cook for 10 minutes or so and roast the asparagus and get the salt to get a bit crispy on the spears. YUM!!! Seriously, my favorite.
Some notes about the dish:
1.) I have pre-cooked quinoa (or brown rice) in my fridge most weeks, so that is why I created this recipe with the use of pre-cooked quinoa.

2.) You could add other veggies in this dish: summer squash, asparagus, peas, and the list goes on...

3.) This dish resembles a cold couscous salad before baking, so if you want to make a no-bake casserole, go for it!

4.) you can easily add a meat-protein if you want to add canned salmon, cooked salmon, or cooked chicken. Also, garbanzo or black beans could be a nice touch as well (didn't go the bean route for a few reasons)...
There you have it, a simple summer dish that is sure to please the picky eater. The kale and herbs may be green, but they add so much flavor I bet you won't even notice they are green...hehe, ok that may be a stretch, but you always need more green things in your life. I promise. My husband and I enjoyed this fresh meal after a long day of working in the yard. His compliments to me revolved around how quick, tasty and fresh this wonderful dish was. Love him. :)

Much love to you today!

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