Creamy broccoli and quinoa casserole featuring shredded chicken and two kinds of cheese is an easy, delicious and healthy dinner, packed with protein and fiber, hearty enough for the hungry and light enough for the lean.
A good broccoli and quinoa casserole pair two of the naturally healthiest foods – broccoli and quinoa. However, it can be challenging to prepare these two foods together in a way that even the pickiest family eaters will enjoy. Still, the reasons to motivate loved ones to eat these healthy foods are important. (If you are looking for other quinoa recipes, try Chipolte Kale Quinoa Bowl with black beans.)
Quinoa is high in protein, calcium, B vitamins and iron, as well as other amino acids. In addition, it is easy to digest, which is important in my family.
Although broccoli can be found in stores year round, its peak season is the fall. Broccoli is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins A, C and K and folate. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and some studies have shown that eating broccoli can help prevent cancer. In addition, an article in the July 2017 issue of Better Nutrition reported on a 17 day study led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The results showed a positive change in gut bacteria and a leaner body and healthier mental function in people who ate 1 ¼ cups of cooked broccoli daily. This impressive result is even more motivation to eat broccoli. I want a lean body and healthy mental function, therefore I must eat more broccoli. This delicious broccoli and quinoa casserole is a good start to eating more of these healthy foods.
Tips with the Amazing Spiralizer
Getting kids to eat broccoli is not always easy. For example, a large broccoli tree can be overwhelming to a small mouth. Over the years I’ve learned a few things to make it easier for my kids to eat broccoli. First, cut the broccoli into very small pieces. When the broccoli is smaller it can mix more easily with other foods for a better taste. Additionally, use a spiralizer to cut the broccoli stem into thin strands or spirals. These spirals can then be cooked in smaller strands that do not overwhelm the palate.
To use a spiralizer, first cut the stem off the broccoli crowns. If the stem has rough spots, use a vegetable peeler to peel those parts off. Then choose the spiralier blade. Next, stick the broccoli stem onto the spiralizer prongs. Finally, turn the handle and watch the spirals come out.
When broccoli is in a casserole, either use frozen broccoli or blanch the broccoli. Otherwise the broccoli will end up mushy and be the bad green color associated with overdone broccoli. Fortunately blanching broccoli is easy and doesn’t take very long.
Making the Casserole
After blanching the broccoli, make the sauce. Then mix everything together and bake. The result will be a delicious and healthy meal.
What I Used to Make Cheesy Broccoli and Quinoa Casserole
For your convenience, I have listed items I used to make this casserole. These are affiliate links of products that I highly recommend.